Who’s Minding Your Board Culture?

After two years on the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network National Board, one (of many) things that I have learned is the importance of paying consistent attention to a board’s culture.

A few ways that we have intentionally focused on our board culture are:

  • highlighting one specific element of our culture during each monthly meeting
  • making cultural fit a key element of our annual board recruitment efforts
  • creating opportunities for members to socialize outside of our formal in-person meetings

This calendar year, we have been setting aside a few minutes in each regular meeting to highlight one element of our culture that has contributed to our cohesion and long-term success. This simple act has helped reinforce what is important to our newest board members and ensure a smooth transition for them onto the board, while also reminding longer-tenured board members of their commitment.

Leading up to and during our annual board recruitment process, we are very clear about the importance of adding new members who will complement the board’s culture, while also bringing the expertise and perspectives that we need to advance YNPN’s mission.

However, I feel that the most important element of our culture has been the time spent together informally, which has allowed us to engage on a much more personal level and to act more effectively when working together as a board.

These elements of the YNPN National Board’s culture are the result of the thoughtful work of our Board Development Committee, which has primary responsibility for maintaining a productive culture, recruiting and onboarding new members, transitioning members off of the board, and much more.

Does your board have a Board Development or Governance Committee? If so, is it engaged in supporting a positive board culture? If not, how have you encouraged this among your board in other ways?

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