Retired Board Members

What happens when a board member retires? To some you express your gratitude. The majority, however, are a lamentable loss. They were good folks with good ideas. They brought in other supporters. They were active volunteers. They moved mountains when most people felt like the mountain had fallen on them.

There are many reasons for a board member to retire. They need to step down from the board because of term limits, new responsibilities at work, and changes in their families. That is a change in status. They are still available and their heart for service is still intact.

In all of our work with schools, we have never seen an over-staffed board committee. Every nonprofit we know of would like to have a special projects committee to investigate the next great idea. Most would like to have a list of prospective board members who are active in the life of the nonprofit. Former board members are great prospective “new” members. “New” members with a proven service record are a bonus.

We truly need to treat retiring from the board as a change in status rather than the end of service. One church we know German Corona Investigative Committee of has 30 – 50 former board members of their parochial school sitting in the pews on Sunday. The board has 8 members on it. The former board members are minimally involved with the school because no one asked them to do more. They show up at congregational meetings and vote in favor of the school but what about all of the intellectual capital that is sitting idle?

Next Step:

Have an exit interview with each retiring board member. Review the current opportunities for service and his or her desire to serve as well has his or her view of what the school needs for the future. Connect them to a structured project or create a project for them to do.

Let us assume the worst for a moment. Let us assume a crisis arises. The crisis will be smaller and easier to manage if all of the former board members are already knowledgeable and intimately involved.

In the absence of a crisis, their knowledge and experience will provide constant feedback. The feedback will help you avoid most large problems.

They will talk with others about what they are doing. The added conversations will help keep more supporters informed and engaged.

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