Adding Muscle for Staten Island Nonprofits
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Posted by: Allie Schlapp
Nonprofit organizations employ more Staten Islanders than any other industry, so it is critical that their boards are in top shape. During Adding Muscle: Building a Strong Board of Directors, Laura Colin Klein, Executive Director of charitySTRONG and Rebecca Gallanter, Assistant Executive Director of the JCC of Staten Island provided advice on recruiting and engaging board members to maximize their effectiveness at the Staten Island Not for Profit Association’s Annual Conference on May 9.
Khatmeh Osseiran-Hanna, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and External Affairs at the College of Staten Island, who moderated the session, led off with a challenge -- ‘the same people seem to be tapped for every board in the community, how do we go beyond this network?’ Gallanter, who works extensively with the JCC’s Board, discussed the importance of looking at your current volunteers, donors and friends and beginning a careful cultivation process. Klein discussed methods for building a deep bench of new leaders including designating a nominating committee to oversee recruitment, adding junior committees to engage younger volunteers, attending board fairs, participating on free online matching sites and asking for suggestions from funders.
Gallanter and Klein also discussed a range of strategies for ensuring board members are responsible and supportive. Gallanter shared the JCC’s comprehensive orientation binder and approach to educating new board members. Klein commented that “you need to make it easy for new board members to get involved,” including providing “job descriptions” and sample e-mails that can be forwarded to friends and prospective donors.
Participants represented a wide variety of organizations and shared thoughtful suggestions with one another. The session ended with a reminder -- nonprofit board members have a fiduciary responsibility to their organizations, and while organized recruitment and education and training may be time consuming, they definitely pay off in the end.