Building a Collaborative Nonprofit Board Team

Nonprofit boards rely on collaboration for their effectiveness. They work with one another with committee members, committee members, as well as organizational staff to support the mission of the organization. The dynamics of the board can encourage or hinder collaboration.

One CEO of a nonprofit told me about a collaborative board team which was plagued by infighting conflicts of interests, infighting, and mistrust. The board’s executive director brought in a consultant to help the team get back on the right track. She demanded the chair of the board to engage in honest discussions with the group. The chair reluctantly agreed.

The consultant discovered that the chair had close connections with certain members of the team and played favorites. She also noticed the chair’s inability to communicate effectively, and her lack of understanding of how to create trust within the group.

Boards can foster a collaborative culture by making sure that both current and new members are ready for it. When you are bringing on new board members, make sure that they are ready to be part of a team environment by introducing them other board members and allow them to work with the staff of the organization in small groups prior to the first board meeting. This will allow them to become acquainted with the company and its leadership as well as build valuable connections. Offer resources that aid collaboration between members, such as an online board portal, in order to allow board members to communicate with one another between meetings. Organising a retreat for the board, or other gatherings, may also foster bonds of friendship.

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