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Recycle Your Nonprofit Board Members

Do you find ways to keep good board members involved once they are no longer serving on your board?

Doesn’t it make sense to find ways to continue to benefit from those who have demonstrated a dedication to your organization?

After all, a board member has gained valuable insight that will remain valuable long after their board role expires. So shouldn’t you look for opportunities to take advantage of that?

The following examples of how nonprofits, chambers of commerce, and associations can repurpose former board members have come from ideas shared by

Frank Kenny’s Chamber of Commerce Professionals Facebook group, Michael Corley I501(c)You podcast guest Dawn Stanhope, and suggestions from Cathy Allen and Renee Rubin Ross PH.D posted in response to my post in a LinkedIn discussion group.

There were frequent mentions of asking former board members to serve on committees, take on key volunteer leadership roles, getting involved in ambassador groups, and being active in advocacy activities such as legislative councils.

Serving in an advisory capacity and sounding board to help think through ideas and challenges is another way former board members are being engaged.

Other examples for how past board members can continue to contribute include asking them to help identify and help recruit future board members, assist in orientations, and provide mentoring for board members, staff and volunteers.

Some organizations have a formal structure for keeping former board members and past board chairs engaged.

 “We have a Board Alumni Club that engages them in the outcomes of our annual strategy meeting and invites them to the Board Holiday Party…. Oh and they get a nifty Alumni metal name badge to wear at events.”

“We have a deadwood club for past chairs to provide insight and feedback. Held once a year apps and snacks or lunch. Very casual.”

“We have a breakfast for all past chairs each year.”

“I try to keep past chairs engaged by having a small committee and I review our Strategic plan with them each year. I value their feedback as we’re progressing so quickly. I want to make sure we also keep tradition.”

“I have dinner with past chairs and current exec committee members several times per year. Past chairs help choose and contact our membership forum guest speakers for the coming year. Many are good friends.”

“Consider annual get-togethers as your own think tank of sorts for ideas and problem solving. This also provides a strong support base and networking opportunities.”

“We have a 100+ person Board of Governors, and we drop ex-board of Directors into our BOG.”

“Past chairs help with one of our awards…they nominate and vote on the award exclusively.”

“I have dinner with past chairs and current exec committee members several times per year. Past chairs help choose and contact our membership forum guest speakers for the coming year.”

Thank you for sharing all of these great suggestions on how organizations can extend the benefit of former good board members.

One of the best suggestions shared was to conduct exit interviews with departing board members and ask them how they want to stay involved. 

How does your organization take advantage of good, former board members?

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