Ten Ways to Engage Your Board Members - Part 1

intentional practices Mar 25, 2024
Ten Ways to Engage Your Board Members Part 1


One of the challenges we hear most often from chief executive officers and board chairs is engaging board members so that they feel valued and committed to the advancement of the organization. Here are ten ways (five this week and five next week!) that boards have been successful in engaging their members and moving forward. Keep in mind that engaged members make for a much more effective board and a much more productive organization.


Here are five this week and five more next week!

1. Connect Mission and Values.

2. Provide Effective Orientation and Onboarding.

3. Clarify Expectations.

4. Offer Opportunities to Grow and Lead.

5. Assign Committee Work.



1. Connect Mission and Values.

Before anyone even considers putting their name forward for your board, they should be certain that their values connect with your organization’s values and that their passion connects with your mission, so that there’s a connection between what is important to them and the work to be done.

You need to make sure that every new board member feels that they are contributing in a way that has meaning for them.


2. Provide Effective Orientation and Onboarding.

Everyone wants to feel competent and confident, as an equal member around the board table, regardless of whether they are in the first or in months. An extensive and required orientation and onboarding experience, led by the CEO and Chair, can provide connections and an important knowledge base. Assign a mentor to each new board member; a mentor, by their very presence, is both pressure and support to participate and contribute,


3. Clarify Expectations.

It should be clear to any new board member what is expected of them,  whether in terms of role and responsibilities, attendance at meetings, contributing through committees, or donating to the organization.

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4. Offer Opportunities to Grow and Lead.

Many board members, especially younger ones, are looking for opportunities to extend their skills and experiences. This can be done through the committee structure itself or through opportunities to interact with board members in other organizations through meetings, networks, conferences, and ongoing professional development. Board development can be for the board member individually and with other board members as a group.


5. Assign Committee Work.

Committee work is essential to the effective functioning of the board, and board members who engage with committees realize that it falls to them to advance the organization's agenda. Nothing should appear on your agenda without having been reviewed by a committee with recommendations made for board approval. This ensures thoughtful deliberation and that board members are actively engaged with important considerations for the board. And your committee structure should reflect your unique functions – effective governance, policy and planning, monitoring and auditing…


These are some ideas for board engagement. What have you done? What could be done? What works for you? What did not work so well?


This is a common issue and theme. I look forward to hearing your ideas.


What are your main “pain points” dealing with board engagement?

What advice would be most helpful to you?
And we always assume that you are asking for a friend!

Get in touch. We’ll address your questions and concerns in an upcoming blog post.




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P.S. May I ask a tiny favour? Would you mind sharing this blog with one person? I would love it. You can post the links in your Facebook Groups, LinkedIn or even send an email.

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