February is known for its questionable weather patterns, President’s Day sales and last but not least, Valentine’s Day, a celebration of love. For a short month, we sure pack a lot in!
I love February because it’s the month following our annual Board Retreat and a time when we are really digging into our work at the Idaho Nonprofit Center alongside our amazing board members.
In each nonprofit leadership role I’ve held I’ve always coordinated one annual retreat with my board of directors. It is important to me to convene the board as a group to set the right tone for the year. This is no small task for a statewide organization with board members in north and eastern Idaho, combined with old man winter you can only imagine what might happen!
During our board retreat this year we took the time to get to know each other and did a pretty cool team building activity that also told us a lot about how each of us like to work. If you’ve never done something like this with your board I highly recommend it.
This year we also included our staff in the board retreat and having our team involved from start to finish was incredibly helpful for us all.
Once we got through the fun stuff, we took some time to review the fiduciary responsibilities of board members. Many of us who have served on a board have never actually reviewed or even thought about the responsibilities we have as board members. The Idaho Attorney General’s office has a great handbook and we’ve linked it to our website. You can review it here. Most of my board members remarked that they had never reviewed this information before.
Another challenge we face is communicating who we are as an organization and what, exactly we do. One of our board members facilitated a branding session with us so that our board and staff could develop common language to communicate the Center and our value.
I also took some time to update our board on some of the great changes we have made over the past several months and share the results of our needs assessment from last June, and how we used that data to help us make business decisions to improve the Center. It was a really great opportunity for us to give the board a deeper insight into all the work we do as a staff to support the nonprofits in Idaho.
I cannot stress enough the importance of hosting our board retreat each year, for all board members, no matter how long they have been a part of the Center’s leadership team. We are evolving into a nimble organization capable of adjusting to the ever-changing needs of our sector and it’s important for our staff and board to convene together to ensure we are all on the same page and equally excited about the amazing work ahead of us.
In closing, I wanted to make sure you know that we have a ton of great resources on board development on our website for all nonprofits, and a special section of board development resources and templates available in our members-only section.
I must confess, in the spirit of the month of February and Valentine’s Day, I truly love nonprofits.
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