Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Why the board needs to be on board

After four years of leading more than 300 pregnancy care centers to begin intentional men's programs there's one simple truth we've learned at Guys For Life. That is: "If the board of directors ain't on board with starting a men's program - T'aint nothing gonna get done about it - period."

At first glance that statement might sound harsh, even considered a hard edged thing to say by some. In reality it isn't a hard thing to say; it's one of the best things we could have discovered as an organization over time.

We've learned a highly qualified, strategic and purposeful board of directors who keep the main thing, the main thing, are responsible for a great number of uniquely selected initiatives . As a team they have got to be on board with a men's program as One-Team One Dream if a men's program is going to work well within their ministry model and have any chance of being successful.

Hence, should anyone want to start a men's program at a pregnancy care center, or like minded organization, we've developed a list of the top ten responsibilities of a board of directors [thanks to BoardSource] with specific suggestions from Guys For Life for Christian non-profits. This list should help anyone bridge the gap between them and a board of directors to join your vision of men's ministry:

Top Ten Responsibilities of a Non-Profit Board of Directors

1. Determine the organization's mission and purpose.
  • Ultimately, that by adding a Men’s Ministry [if you are Christ centered] the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be advanced (often considered a “DUH”, spell it out for them).
  • The Men’s Ministry enhances the mission and purpose and does not slow it down or distract from it.
  • Will the addition of a Men’s Ministry actually cause the mission and vision statement to change? (I.E. “Women”) Could it even impact a name change?
2. Select the chief executive.
  • You won’t be selecting the chief executive, however, how will a men’s ministry impact the workload of the chief executive (positively/negatively)?
  • How can a chief executive ‘parlay’ the men’s ministry with key donors and other community organizations for deeper levels of involvement? (Actually prepare this for them)
  • How/where will the Men’s Ministry come under the leadership of the chief executive?
3. Provide proper financial oversight.
  • A budget. Plain and simple. Start off small and build up. (Humble beginnings can be used by the Lord.
  • A fundraising plan - plans that do not counter the overall ministry and strengthen it.
  • Help with Partners (donors) to bring the lost ones back and forge new territory with prospective partners.
4. Ensure adequate resources.
  • An annual list of what you physically need in the form of supportive resources (well thought out and justified).
  • Additionally a list of conferences and training you see lifting up the male mentors and leaders to execute the mission.
  • People - Can the board be helpful to pointing you out to people groups they are associated with (CBMC, men’s groups, other organizations) that a volunteer presentation could be made?
5. Ensure legal and ethical integrity and maintain accountability.
  • Assurance that men’s program will be compliant with current policies of organization (search it out, are you?).
  • Men’s program is covered by center’s insurance (off-site, transport, etc.)
  • Men’s program is providing a “look in” into what they are planning and doing - No surprises!
6. Ensure effective organizational planning.
  • Making sure Men’s plan is in the Strategic Plan seamlessly and not disruptively (Dove Tail).
  • Any Men’s plans are well thought out from “Concept” to “Final Impact”.
  • Back up Plans - Prepare “What If” scenarios.
7. Recruit and orient new board members and assess board performance.
  • The Men’s Ministry will broaden the reach and impact of the overall ministry. As such the men’s program will be a great tool for reaching new board members.
8. Enhance the organization's public standing.
  • Testimonies - Gather victories in print and video (put ample resources in their hands to give out and use socially).
  • Program Highlights - Gather victories in print and video (put ample resources in their hands to give out and use socially).
  • Encouragement - Times will get tough and board members will struggle and wrestle. Make sure you have ample examples of how God is winning!
9. Determine, monitor, and strengthen the organization's programs and services.
  • Honest input - What’s working, what’s not working. Tell it like it is, let God be your defender.
  • Challenging input - The stuff they might not want to hear, but need to hear - respectfully and God honoring.
  • Suggested Changes - Don’t just bring them a problem, pack 1-3 solutions to each problem you can identify.
10. Support the chief executive and assess his or her performance.
  • Assurance that the Men’s Ministry are behind this person 100% and will give them their all (submit to Jesus).
  • Proof that the men’s program is not “needy” but rather a blessing to the leader and propels them further in excellence in Christ Jesus.
Should you 'come under' the leadership of the board lifting them up in this manner your men's program, and practically any other component of ministry not being addressed, will have a greater chance of 'buy in'. From there the overall general interest of the board for these initiatives should rise as each sides begins to respect the other. Up and to all the way through completion of the program should be protected once these considerations are put in place.

Till next time,

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