Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Participant Hat: Hinting, Whining or Affirming?

In the hot-off-the-press ECFA Governance Toolbox Series No. 2: Balancing Board Roles, the short DVD helps boards define and clarify their appropriate roles regarding the three board hats: Governance, Volunteer and Participant.

So what’s the Participant Hat?

The 20-page Board Member Read-and-Engage Viewing Guide (each toolbox includes 12 guides) says that boards must define those special events (including fundraising events, as detailed in board policies) that board members, and perhaps spouses, are expected to attend.

“The best boards communicate their Participant Hat expectations to current and new board members.”  Are expectations crystal clear for your board? 

Which Participant Hat scenario describes your board’s experience?

Scenario 1: Hinting.  A week before the work day or walk-a-thon, your CEO or board chair hints that it would be helpful if board members participated.

Scenario 2: Whining.  After the work day or walk-a-thon, your CEO or board chair whines that it would have been helpful if more board members had participated.

Scenario 3: Affirming.  At the beginning of each year, the Board Member Annual Affirmation Statement lists the Participant Hat “attendance-required events” and all board members affirm their high commitment to participate (or ask to be excused). 

 “Affirming is certainly favored over hinting and whining. For example, new board members should know—up front—if hosting a table of 10 at the fundraising dinner is a required Participant Hat event.  
"Glossing over their lack of advance planning, 
some CEOs and/or staff members 
often default to clever guilt tactics 
to prod board members into showing up. 

"That’s inappropriate and unfair—and hardly God-honoring!”

The solution is simple—and a downloadable template is included in the toolbox.

The viewing guide continues, “Board members should be informed, up front, of the organization’s realistic expectations regarding attendance at ministry events. Effective boards leverage a “Board Member Annual Affirmation Statement,” a document signed annually by both new and current members that spells out the specifics for all three hats. This annual affirmation also adds rich meaning to the spiritual calling of board service and inspires high commitment.”

Click here for more information on the ECFA Governance Toolbox Series:

  • Series No. 2: Balancing Board RolesUnderstanding the 3 Board Hats: Governance, Volunteer and Participant
  • Series No 1: Recruiting Board MembersLeveraging the 4 Phases of Board Recruitment: Cultivation, Recruitment, Orientation and Engagement
QUESTION: Are the Participant Hat expectations crystal clear to all board members?

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