Maintaining Progress on a Changing Board

MAINTAINING PROGRESS ON A CHANGING BOARD

As consultants (and as board and staff members) we know how frustrating it is when organizations invest time in trying to build board systems or processes, or invest money in board training or expert help, when those investments don’t seem to pay off with real, lasting improvements.  Sure, things may be better for a while, but then the consultant finishes the contract and board members wrap up their terms.  Before long, no one can remember what the fundraising trainer said, or that we agreed to have a mission moment every meeting, or exactly how that new decision making framework was supposed to work. 

How can you retain the progress that each “generation” of your board makes to move the organization forward, even when your board (and sometimes staff) is constantly changing?  Does it have to be two steps forward, one step back, or are there things you can do to sustain your board’s expertise, culture, and momentum over the long term?  

We’ve been thinking about this question a lot because we’re going to be leading an education session later this spring on exactly this topic.  Does anyone have a success story or a tip to share?  Tell us your good ideas in the comments section below.

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