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Healthy Leagues usually welcome any kind of outside help. However, some presidents may feel that their boards do not need training, that they can handle it themselves, or that they simply do not have the time. Ironically, boards have spent so much time coddling their boards with words like “they’re just volunteers, we can’t ask them to do that,” that we have failed to realize a critical error in that thinking. And in a strong League, that training is ongoing, just as it is in the corporate world.
Board members should learn all they can about the League. They should have ongoing training about their job as board member. And they must be trained to understand the financials, as so many of their decisions will have something to do with money. They should learn about “marketing” the League, as well as how to manage League policies. They should fulfill their roles as “frontline ambassadors” for the organization, inviting people to join, creating a welcoming presence for new members and a dynamic organization that attracts new leaders.
At the very least suggest a heart to heart about your League's non-partisan policies. In this age of internet immediacy, personal blogs become public, political fund raising is virtual, and issues can arise regarding who is speaking for your League. It would be a good idea to have this discussion!
A good orientation sets the tone for the year's activities. Key elements include a discussion of board and staff roles and League’s purpose and programs.
A board that is doing its job well is more likely to be excited about that job. And a board that is jazzed about the job is the best recruiting tool of all!
It is very easy for an "outside" facilitator to provide an orientation session for your board using simple technology (i.e. facilitator on a speaker phone). Agenda and other training materials can be emailed to each board member before the "orientation". There are many experienced League leaders who would able to offer your League this training. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are interested.