Saturday, February 18, 2012

Begin With the End in Mind

“Begin with the end in mind” is Habit #2 in Stephen Covey’s best-seller, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

That’s not a bad habit for Christ-centered governance. As you think through the four phases of board recruitment (Cultivation, Recruitment, Orientation and Engagement), remember that there is actually a fifth phase: Life-long Engagement.

So if you begin with the end in mind, you’ll likely build deeper relationships and help board members leverage their strengths and spiritual gifts more intentionally. That will have a big pay-off for both your board members and your ministry for dozens of years—long after a three-year or six-year board term.

Rebekah Basinger, who provides fundraising counsel and board education through her firm, Basinger Consulting, writes an insightful blog, “Generous Matters: Encouraging Lives That Are Rich Toward God.”  This month she wrote a must-read article, “After Bye-Bye Board Member, Then What?”

She writes, “Despite declarations of continuing devotion, absence seldom makes the heart grow fonder—at least when it comes to former board members. Unless you are intentional about trying to stem the natural progression of things, all those years of service to your organization very quickly fade to a pleasant memory. Before you know it, bye-bye board member turns into good-bye friend.”

Plus, in this month’s BoardSource LinkedIn discussion group (for members-only), nonprofit leaders have been weighing in on the hot topic, “What happens at the end of a board term?” Members also have access to an excellent article in the BoardSource Knowledge Center, “Board Member Exit Interviews.” (Yes—some boards actually do that!)

If it’s been a while (like maybe never?) since your Executive Committee has had a robust discussion on “beginning with the end in mind,” use these resources to start the discussion.  Leaders of Christ-centered boards are intentional about stewarding board talent—long, long after a member’s board term.

Question: What percentage of our former board members (of the last 15 years) are still engaged with our ministry at a high level?

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