Practical strategies to build board engagement

Last week, at the AHCAP (Association of Health Care Administrative Professionals) conference, we had a great discussion about tactical strategies administrators can use to have an impact on their board engagement – and help to build a healthy board culture.  For those who were unable to attend the conference, the slide deck is posted below.

In the presentation, we discussed the important role of the board liaison in ensuring the board’s culture is one of open dialog, mutual respect, and appropriate curiosity.  The topic was inspired by Mary Graham Davis, former board chair of Mount Holyoke College, who wrote a powerful article for Trusteeship magazine on developing a healthy board culture.  Specifically, we wanted to highlight the important role board liaisons – such as the assistant to the CEO – play in fostering board culture.  A few examples of the tips we suggested include:

  • Find opportunities to connect your board members to your mission – get to know your board members, their individual interests and tastes and be sure to invite them to events and meetings at your organization that match.  Post these events on your board members’ calendars in you board portal.
  • Ensure the chief executive and board chair have an appointment to discuss the board agenda prior to each board meeting.  This simple strategy can reinforce a strong working partnership between the board and senior management.  Foster collaboration on the meeting agenda using board portal software like the ones found in BoardEffect.  (A special shout out to Heather Fehn, Chief of Staff and Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the College of New Jersey for making similar suggestions at the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities Board Professionals Workshop in April.)
  • Post-meeting “check-ins” – most meetings produce follow-up activities and tasks that are assigned to various board and staff members.  The board liaison can “check in” with board members after the meeting to see how they can help.  Activities, important dates, and documents can be shared and tracked through BoardEffect.

Want to learn more?  Connect with us – we’re happy to share great strategies like these to enhance your board’s engagement and experience. 

Dottie Schindlinger, Governance Technology Evangelist at BoardEffect

Dottie Schindlinger

Dottie is BoardEffect’s Governance Technology Evangelist and promotes the concept of Governance for Good as a leading expert in the field. She researches governance trends and writes for a variety of publications, including the definitive chapter on “E-governance Is Good Governance” for Internet Management for Nonprofits: Strategies, Tools & Trade Secrets, Ted Hart, Steve R. McLaughlin, James M. Greenfield, Philip H. Geier, Jr., Eds., April 2010: Wiley & Sons, New York, NY. A frequent presenter on the topic of good governance, Dottie speaks to dozens of audiences – both in the US and abroad – and presents hundreds of webinars each year.