A key aspect to every board meeting should be getting those present to think creatively about the organization they love. One way to do this is by asking intriguing, thought provoking questions and seeing where the conversation goes. This doesn't have to take up a lot of time in the actual meeting, even 15-20 minutes is useful, because the thinking keeps happening long after the meeting is over. Much like cardio exercise where your metabolism keeps functioning at a higher level for hours after the workout, kickstarting the thought process at a meeting means the contemplating will continue long after adjournment.
Here are a few questions to get your board thinking:
- What are the biggest assets of our nonprofit? An asset in this context is simply something considered valuable and could be tangible or not (ex: volunteer power)
- Is there an unmet need you wish our nonprofit could fulfill? Do you have any ideas for how this dream could become a reality? What are the obstacles?
- What expertise does our organization currently lack? How can we bring this expertise in-house?
- What unique funding resources do we have access to? Is there a way we could further build up or leverage this avenue of funding?
In addition to these questions, take a look at last week's blog post to get more ideas about expansive thinking and dreaming.
While a board meeting is often about the business of a nonprofit, it doesn't mean there shouldn't be ample opportunity for and encouragement of meaningfully engaging board members in the ongoing work and mission advancement of your nonprofit. Asking a few questions can get people thinking about how they can help, who they know that might be interested in your group, what gift solicitations they can champion, and where they envision the organization going in the future. This sort of engagement is what keeps board members thinking about why they got involved with an organization to begin with and helps them stay motivated--rather than get bored--so they'll keep doing their best work.