Effective job descriptions
The board has three broad areas of responsibility: planning and policy development; community and organizational development; and, fundraising and support development. For most organizations, key responsibilities include the following: consistently attendance at regular board meetings, preparation in advance before regular board meetings by reading and studying materials in advance regarding key actions the board is expected to take at the next meeting. I will recommend the following for effectiveness:
1. Written member job description: Another vital element in the board development process is a written board member job description. For a board to function successfully each member must understand and accept the specific duties and responsibilities that come with board membership. This statement serves as a job description and clarifies board responsibilities. The most effective job descriptions are those that state in behavioral terms precisely what board members are expected to do.
Each member knows his/her responsibilities. 2. Another crucial element in board effectiveness is a functioning executive committee. Sometimes other members of the board are included as part of the Executive Committee: for example chairs of the standing committees or at-large members from the board to assure representation of diverse viewpoints. It plays three critical roles: planning the agenda of board
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3. Just-in-time Board Orientation: Another component of board effectiveness is training and orientation provided in a timely manner. The problem for many organizations is that it can sometimes take new board members several months and even a full year before they begin to function effectively in their role as board members. This will help new board members to be provided with an advance program of orientation training to prepare them to hit the ground high running .
It is critical that prospective board members are familiar with the mission, vision, major goals, and strategies of the organization. 4. Annual board self-evaluation process: An effective board should establish a process for annual self-evaluation of the board. A well-planned recruitment process and an effective committee structure lay the ground work for improved board performance. A process for board self-evaluation will help to maintain a high level of performance. It happens informally when directors get together and talk about individual and board concerns.
But a formal process is also necessary. In order to maximize board member commitment to the process, it is important that they are actors in the assessment process, rather than the passive recipients of someone else’s evaluation of their performance. 5. Profile of the current board: The Board Development Committee can create a profile of the current board using a matrix designed for this purpose. Key factors that define sought-after expertise, knowledge, skills, experience, as well as relevant demographic factors are arranged along the top of the matrix.
The names of current board members are listed down the side of the matrix. The Committee then uses the matrix to complete the profile. 6. Focused recruiting priorities: By reviewing the agency strategic plan as well as the profile of current board strengths and weaknesses, the Board Development Committee identifies the gap between the skills and knowledge needed on the board, and what board members currently possess. Based on this analysis, the Board Development Committee can now set clear recruiting priorities for future board recruitment.
7. Link to the strategic plan: It is important to match board development and recruitment activities with the new requirements and demands of the strategic plan. The ideal time to do this is right after the strategic planning process has been completed. The board reviews the mission, vision, goals and strategies, and then determines any new skills, knowledge, personal contacts and other attributes future board members will need to possess in order for the board to do its part in advancing the strategic plan.
To sum up, an effective Board of Directors is built upon a number of key practices. The include; Establishment of a committee structure, the presence of an executive committee that facilitates the effective decision-making on the part of a board is a whole, a thoughtful nominations and recruitment process that is viewed as parts of a broader effort to identify, involve, and develop board leadership. , a process for periodic evaluation of board performance.
These processes and structures reinforce each other and lay the groundwork for board effectiveness in general and position the board for effective fundraising as well. REFERENCES: Braham, L Managing risk (2003) Five ways to transform a business strategy and leadership: Bjelland, O and Chapman Wood (2002) Strategic management and public policy; Wheelen, T. L, and Hunger, J. D (2008) Targeting the leaning organization: Salopok, J (2004)