Above Board –

Not Quite ‘There’ Board Members

meeting thought
“Wonder if I can get a 2 o’clock tee time?”

At some time every organization has experienced a ‘not quite there’ board member.  They are known by various descriptors: such as a Warm Body, the Seat Warmer, Deadwood, or maybe the Resume Builder, but for some reason or another they just don’t seem to be engaged.

There could be several reasons for this inactivity but the most egregious of all is having recruited them without telling them what the organization’s expects of them.

There are tools available for board building which are useful for every stage of a nonprofit. Some of our favorites include:

In her post “What to Do with Board Members Who Don’t Do Anything” Jan Masaoka lists short-term and long-term solutions.  Even though the post is well-aged the suggestions are still relevant today. Here are a couple short-term solutions:

  • Check to be sure that expectations were made clear to the board member before he or she joined the board. “I know you joined the board recently and I’m not sure that you realize that we ask all board members to attend the annual dinner and, hopefully, to help sell tickets. Let me explain to you what most board members do, so you can see whether you’ll be able to work on this with us.”
  • Hold a board discussion at which expectations are reconsidered and reaffirmed. Agree on a list of minimal expectations for every board member, and ask people to suggest how they might individually help as well.

Click here if you’d like to read Jan’s complete post.

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