Waves of recovery start right now for associations and nonprofits that have stumbled through 2020. Board of Directors slogged through decisions that have ranged from ‘guess we’ll have to fold’ to marching on with ‘let’s not skip a beat’ service to their members. So, here’s my advice to stabilize in the continuing unstable times we’re in.

  1. Please don’t roll your eyes but I want you to take a cleansing breath. Really. Do it right now. Stand up, reach up, and take two big breaths. Do this daily. Refocusing is tough and keeping an eye on your own physical and emotional health is critical for your family, your business, and your commitment to the board you’re on.
  2. Refresh. Forgive yourself, if you need to, for checking out of your board duties or, let’s just say, not being part of the solutions so badly needed all year. You had your family and business to tend to. Then, recommit to your board duties by calling the president or emailing the executive committee with your re-engagement or energized service.
  3. Do a serious deep dive on where your organization is right now. How is the P & L? How are the membership renewals?  What programs or events were changed? Assuming our 2021 looks a lot like 2020 in terms of restrictions, is the calendar being worked on? What part can you play in that? (Engage a speaker for a webinar or assist with the newsletter?)
  4. Focus on your membership, sponsors, or donors. I suggest a brief confidential survey to them. 4 questions max. What do they need or want? If they are really honest, you may find out your association can do more for them than you think.  This may not be typical services your group offers.  Some may need business, health, or family service advice. Perhaps pull a quick webinar together with some of the issues addressed? Or, respond personally.
  5. Lastly, and continuously, get personal. Call members. Call sponsor companies. Call donors. If that’s not possible (not sure why not) then send emails or a handwritten note to them. Those receiving your attention will not forget it.

As a board member of a charity or industry group, you have been chosen to lead. Leadership looks quite different right now.  So, dive in and be different.


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