Fall is planning time for most nonprofit executive directors and board CEO’S. Two questions you may be asking yourself are:

  • How can I get more out of our current board next year? Or,
  • How can I re-awaken and fire up those solid directors who “checked out this past year?

They may still be showing up for meetings but seem disengaged, unmotivated, maybe even unprepared. How can you light a fire under these previous top performers and salvage their terms of board service? Since identifying, recruiting, training, and orientating new directors (assuming they eventually work out) is such a long and tedious process, you really need to try and salvage these directors, if you can.

We know everyone, at one time or another, likes to be treated like they are special, and everyone likes to be “stroked” and praised for doing a good job. Well, here are a couple of ideas you might want to try to get these drifting directors solidly back in your corner and fired up for 2014.

  • Invite them, individually, to breakfast or lunch
  • Make them feel special and appreciated–spend some quality time
  • Thank them for their selfless service to the agency, reminding them that they have made significant differences in the past
  • Tell them how much you appreciate all they have done for the agency and the important impact they have made over time
  • Basically, re-recruit them onto the board
  • Remind them of the board’s key challenges and that you really need their help next year and you want to count on them to step up and come along side of you to tackle one of the major issues your agency is facing in the new year
  • Suggest 1-2 important agency goals, or special projects you’d like him/her to take the lead on and “drive” in the new year for you
  • Then smile, look right at them and ask for their commitment

It may seem simply or manipulative, but good performers are hard to find and if you can salvage one or two, you have to try.

Another way to bring some energy and entrepreneurial energy into the boardroom might be to review how your board meetings are being run. For instance, how can you run Board Meetings that Don’t Bore? And, how can you become a Board President that Doesn’t Bore? Finally, here are some tips to Quick Start Your New Year.

Now, it’s your turn. Please post a note here with your ideas to save those “drifting” directors and to embed energy and excitement into your board in 2014.