Friday Buzz: Better Engagement Behind the Scenes

Insight from nonprofit professionals on how to better engage your board and staff. Also: pointers for keeping your association’s mission and vision from diverging.

Your board may be made up of your hardest-working volunteers, but even your most loyal board members can reach their breaking point.

In a guest post for Wild Apricot, Webbright Services President Lamees Abourahma shares how several association leaders have cracked the nut of board engagement.

While some execs focus on finding the right talents or turning tasks into a game, Christina Green, president of the Midwest Association of Translators and Interpreters, chooses to speak directly to volunteers who don’t show as much enthusiasm.

“If people don’t volunteer voluntarily, then we actually reach out to them and ask them, ‘Would you be willing to participate in this initiative?’” she said. “We explain what it is for, and we have found that it’s very important to be very clear.”

Of course, your staff has a key role to play in your success, and you need to keep them engaged, too.

To pique their interest, Affinity Center International’s Dave Carrithers and Darryl Hutson say leaders should focus on strong rewards for strong results. Those rewards shouldn’t just come in the form of a paycheck, either.

“Work can be hard and draining, so you need to find a way to generate energy on doing what needs to get done at higher levels of performance,” Carrithers and Hutson explain. “A reward program generates this fun and excitement and is a clear way to show the employees that these efforts are important and so are they.”

Clear Vision Boosts the Mission

If your association is reworking its strategy, it might be good to clear up what matters more—a strong vision or a strong mission.

MultiBriefs contributor Michael J. Berens explains that while the mission is an association’s “reason for being,” the vision is the ideal destination that is “susceptible to changes.”

They’re not the same thing, but they work together.

“When strategies are aligned, the organization’s mission informs its vision, and its vision furthers the mission,” he writes. “When they are out of sync, they can work against each other, creating a great deal of friction and wasted effort throughout the organization.” (ht @Multibriefs)

Other Good Reads

Although staff meetings can be laborious, they don’t have to be. contributor Kristine Kern shares five ways to transform them into more productive planning sessions.

In a guest post for SocialFish, Ryan Jenkins says associations will miss out on untapped talent from millennials unless they provide them a chance to make a significant impact.

For self-reflective associations seeking to build a more cohesive culture, Big Spaceship CEO and Mashable contributor Michael Lebowitz delivers five tips to empower employees.


Alexis Williams

By Alexis Williams

Alexis Williams is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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