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Tim McDermott “Five Practical Steps For a Great Relationship With Your Board”

Five practical steps for a great relationship with your board…

Every President, General Manager, Executive Director wants to work well with the board. So what are some things you can do to make that happen. Here are just a few of many I recommend.

  1. Regular personal communication with the Board Chair – With any good relationship, you need to have great communication. But one size doesn’t fit all. For some board chairs, it may be a weekly phone call, for others a meal every couple of weeks and for others it may be a weekly email. The important part is to ask the board chair what method is best for them to keep them informed. Your job is to make sure it is regular so that they know what is happening at your organization.

  2. Do a board orientation – The best time to stop problems is before they start. When you have a new board member to your organization take time for a board orientation. In the orientation, give them material about your organization and also let them know the DO’s and DON’Ts of board service. Give them a board job description. Have them meet the Senior Team and see what they do. Let them know how to best communicate with the organization (through you!). If you have a Board Policy Manual, which I strongly recommend you do, let them read it and then follow up with them to see if they have questions. As Smokey the Boardroom Bear says, Only You Can Prevent board fires…

  3. Feed your board. One of my axioms is that “A hungry board will create extra work for you – feed them so you can focus on the mission.” Boards left to themselves can drift and start creating work for you and your team. Instead of waiting for them to find something, feed them results of what is happening in your organization. Personalized stories, Tweets. Facebook comments. Notes attached to donor gifts. Let the board see the results of your organization. This will help reinforce to them you are on track.

  4. Spend time with each one. Board and committee meetings are just too busy to really get to know your board. Find a time outside of those meetings to meet with each board member. Find out about their family, their jobs and what they are passionate about. For years, we sent our board member a music CD on their birthday with a note from me. The board members loved it.

  5. Pray for your board. I really believe God speaks through boards. They have a tough job to do – and most as volunteers – serve because they want to make a difference. Pray for them. Pray for God to give them wisdom. Pray for unity and for guidance.


Tim McDermott was the President of KSBJ for about 27 years.  He is now consulting Christian radio stations who want help with fundraising, leadership, and financial management. He can be reached at tim@timmcdermottcpa.com.