Presented by Henrietta Jordan Trailmarker Associates Imagine: What if the board you serve on was THE board that transformed the organization, that took it to a new level of effectiveness, that future boards looked back on and said, “that was the board that made all the difference”? Board development = the creation of a highly effective board of directors. What are the attributes of a highly effective board? A highly effective land trust board understands that its role is to govern the organization through the creation and implementation of good policies and the making of sound decisions that advance the land trust’s mission. Board members come to board meetings prepared to have substantive discussions and make decisions in a thoughtful and deliberative manner. They are active between meetings as committee members, task/project leaders, volunteers, fundraisers, and ambassadors for their organizations. If they have staff, they work in partnership with the executive director, providing vision, guidance, direction, and financial resources. They recruit and engage new board members who represent the community the land trust serves and provide them with the training and experiences they need to assume leadership roles in the organization. They have outgrown their dependence on the founder and share responsibility for building institutional knowledge, setting direction, planning, and evaluating programs and their own performance as a board. They operate with transparency and scrupulously manage conflicts of interest and conflicts of loyalty. They are curious, open to challenges and differences of opinion, flexible, and committed to the well-being of the organization and the achievement of its goals. They are willing to risk trying new things and things they didn’t think they’d want to do, like fundraising, negotiating with landowners, public speaking, and writing grant applications. They understand that just as a land trust is a steward of land, they are stewards of their organization. They plan for their own succession and intentionally create a foundation of effectiveness for future boards. Other attributes? Wow. How do we build a board like that? First things first. Make building an effective board your top priority. If you can accomplish this primary goal, realizing all your other ones will be a piece of cake Assess where you are now: board self-evaluation and board member self-evaluation. Plan! Set goals for board development, just as you set goals for programs and fundraising. Assign responsibility for board development to a committee— and don’t saddle its members with too many other jobs. Develop a board member job description that clearly states your expectations for engagement, meeting attendance, committee work, training, and financial support. Develop a board manual with organizational history, board and staff directory, bylaws, statement of vision & values, goals and plan, description of programs and conserved lands, budget info, description of funding sources, minutes of board meetings for the past 6 months or so, policies and procedures, information on Land Trust Alliance, MLTN, and the Learning Center, and outreach info such as brochure, newsletter, recent press articles, links to website and social media. Prune dead wood. If they’re not accomplishing anything, they’re probably looking for an exit anyway. Bring in new members who represent the community you’re trying ‘to serve. Other ideas? Where do we find those new board members? Ask: Why would they want to engage with your organization? Young parents – activities for kids. Schoolteachers – educational programs. New residents – want to get involved in the community and meet people. Hiking, birding, fishing, other outdoor groups who have a stake in what you’re doing. Environmentally conscious residents concerned about saving open space/preserving community character/protecting water quality/sequestering carbon/promoting local foods and farms, etc. Church groups – people interested in “creation care.” College and university instructors: GIS mapping, community and urban planning, environmental policy, natural resource planning and conservation, agriculture, etc. Singles – looking for a social outlet and opportunities to meet people. Other ideas? Board members want to feel that their time is well-spent. The most important tool you can give them: information necessary for good decision-making. The “how” as well as the “what”: bylaws, board manual, policies, guidelines, etc. In the agenda: “Board action needed. . . ” Committee reports in writing. “What are you asking me to do?” (i.e. review, comment, decide, advise?) In-service mini-trainings Opportunities to go to Rally Recognition Other ideas? Financial literacy: All board members need to be able to read and understand the budget, the statement of activities (profit/loss) and the statement of financial position (balance sheet). Assume they don’t know and provide an annual in-service on financial statements. Develop accounting procedures that provide for sufficient segregation of duties— and follow them. Review the audit (or financial review) and Form 990 carefully and ask questions! Fiduciary responsibility means YOU are the watchdog. If you don’t understand, ask questions! Land conservation literacy All board members need to understand why and how they undertake conservation projects and what the land trust’s ongoing stewardship responsibilities are. • • • • • Training (and policy): Using project selection criteria Exercising due diligence in investigating potential projects Legally sound transactions Recordkeeping Understanding IRS and state requirements, stewardship and defense funding • Baseline documentation • Monitoring conservation restrictions and preserves • Enforcing conservation restrictions • Amending conservation restrictions • Developing management plans for fee properties • Resolving fee property issues such as trespass, dumping, ATVs, etc. Personnel management literacy Job descriptions Workplans Personnel policies Supervision and evaluation of the executive director Understanding of federal and state labor laws and fair employment statutes Understanding of payroll taxes, unemployment compensation, workers comp, & disability insurance requirements Establishing appropriate compensation (salary, benefits, etc.) Planning literacy What do you need for a strategic plan? A Cadillac or a Ford? Ford = 3-5 year plan with history of organization, mission, vision, goals, and strategies. Action steps for each strategy with “point person” and timetable. Budget. Annual workplans for board, committees, staff Process for evaluating, fine-tuning Managing conflict We all bring our “stuff” wherever we go. “Board members behaving badly” – an inevitable growing pain of an organization. President or chair MUST intervene. “Let’s have lunch” Pay more attention to the folks who are pulling their weight and doing the work than to those who are only complaining. What do your bylaws say? The process of “firing” a dysfunctional board member will be painful but the sweet peace that follows makes it all worth it. Now what? What will YOU do first to make your board more effective? You CAN have the board you would love to be a member of!