Basic Guidelines and Sample Agenda for Board Training Session

© Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD

Guidelines to Prepare Board Training
Sample Agenda for Board Training Session

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Board training conveys the knowledge and understanding needed by board members in order to effectively carry out their roles as members of the organization's board of directors. Selection of the particular training topics and training methods depend on the nature and needs of the organization. However, the following guidelines and sample agenda may prove useful to readers as they develop their own approach to board training.

Guidelines to Prepare Board Training

Regarding Timing of the Session

1. Conduct board training once a year, whether you have new board members or not. It's amazing how the "basics" helps to ground and integrate the knowledge and understanding of even highly experienced board members. Recurring training also helps to ensure that board members are all "working from the same script".

2. Conduct board training shortly after new members are elected to the board. This scheduling helps new members quickly gain understanding of their roles and contributions to the organization. This understanding often increases their participation and fulfillment regarding their roles as board members.

Who Should Be Involved in Planning the Session

3. Design of the board training should include at least the chief executive officer and board chair. Ideally, the organization also has a board development committee whose chair can provide strong participation in the training. If timing permits, discuss ideas with all board members to collect their feedback and review.

Selecting Topics and Materials for Board Training

4. Results of the board self-evaluation should be carefully considered when selecting training topics. For example, if the evaluation indicated the board members don't understand their roles as board members, then ensure that training places strong focus on this topic during training.

5. Be sure to include review of the board manual in the training session. The manual is the key resource for members to collect, organize and reference resources needed to carry out their roles as board member. Members should take seriously their manual and the use of it.

6. Materials you'll need often include:
a) Board manual (for an idea of contents to include in the manual, see Sample Board Manual Index)
b) Advertising and promotions materials about the organization and its programs
c) Copy of the most recent strategic plan

Members' Preparation for Training

7. Provide the board training agenda, board manual and promotions materials to members at least two weeks before the meeting. Ask them to review the materials before the meeting.

NOTE: Many of the materials you may need for training and to present to members are included in the Free Toolkit for Boards in the Free Management Library.


Sample Agenda for Board Training Session

The following agenda should be modified by the organization to meet its own nature and needs. During review of the topics marked with an "*", provide brief presentation about the topic and then provide time for open discussion and to address questions from participants.

Topic

Leader of This Section of Meeting

Length of Time (minutes)

Welcome Board chair
Review of agenda* Board chair
Introduction of participants Each person introduces themselves
Overview of organization* Executive director reviews mission, history, programs and introduces key staff
Orientation to board manual* Board chair
Roles and responsibilities of governing board* Board chair reviews overview of roles, role of chief executive, and comparison of roles of board and staff
Overview of board structure Review listing of current officers, committees, and committee chairs
Overview of board operations* Board chair reviews key points from bylaws and board policies, board operations calendar, sample committee work plans, and sample meeting agenda and minutes
Review of strategic plan* Board chair reviews format of plan, highlights from the plan and key points about status of implementation of the plan
Administrative activities For example, set the schedule for next year's board meetings, refine the board operations calendar, update the list of board members, etc.
Next steps Board chair poses reminders of upcoming activities and events
Meeting evaluation Board chair


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To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.

Related Library Topics

Recommended Books

For-Profit ("Corporate") Boards of Directors

Nonprofit Boards of Directors



For-Profit ("Corporate") Boards of Directors

Leadership and Supervision in Business - Book Cover Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision in Business
by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Provides step-by-step, highly practical guidelines to recruit, utilize and evaluate the best employees for your business. Includes guidelines to effectively lead yourself (as Board member or employee), other individuals, groups and organizations. Includes guidelines to avoid burnout -- a very common problem among employees of small businesses. Many materials in this Library are adapted from this book.

NOTE: This is one of the few books that's all about leadership AND how to effectively work with a corporate (for-profit) Board.

The following books are recommended because of their highly practical nature and often because they include a wide range of information about this Library topic. To get more information about each book, just click on the image of the book. Also, a "bubble" of information might be displayed. You can click on the title of the book in that bubble to get more information, too.



Nonprofit Boards of Directors

Developing, Operating and Restoring Your Nonprofit Board - Book Cover Field Guide to Developing, Operating and Restoring Your Nonprofit Board
by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Provides step-by-step, highly practical guidelines to organize, operate and sustain high-quality nonprofit Boards -- and to fix a broken Board! Includes variety of Board models you can choose from, roles and responsibilities, how to get the best members, how to train and organize them, goals for standard committees, ensuring high-quality meetings, evaluating Boards, how to evaluate and/or replace the Executive Director, and much more! Includes many sample Board policies you can download! Written by the developer of the Free Management Library. Many materials in this Library's topic about Boards are adapted from this book. 30-day, money-back, guarantee!
Leadership and Supervision With Nonprofit Staff - Book Cover Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision With Nonprofit Staff
by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Provides step-by-step, highly practical guidelines to recruit, utilize and evaluate the best staff members for your nonprofit. Includes guidelines to effectively lead yourself (as Board member or staff member), other individuals, groups and organizations. Includes guidelines to avoid burnout -- a very common problem among nonprofit staff. Written by the developer of the Free Management Library. Many materials in this Library are adapted from this book.

This is one of the few books that's all about leadership AND how to effectively work with a nonprofit Board.
Consulting and Organization Development With Nonprofits - Book Cover Field Guide to Consulting and Organizational Development With Nonprofits
by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Provides complete, step-by-step guidelines to identify complex issues in nonprofit organizations and successfully resolve each of them. This book is also helpful to organizations that are doing fine now, but want to evolve to the next level of performance. This is one of the truly comprehensive, yet practical, books about this complex subject! Includes online forms that can be downloaded. Written by the developer of the Free Management Library. Many materials in this Library's topic about guiding change are adapted from this comprehensive book. 30-day, money-back, guarantee!
Nonprofit Strategic Planning and Facilitation - Book Cover Field Guide to Nonprofit Strategic Planning and Facilitation
by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Step-by-step guidelines to customize and facilitate planners to implement the best strategic planning process to suit the particular nature and needs of their nonprofit. This is one of the few books, if any, that explains how to actually facilitate planning. Includes many online forms that can be downloaded and used by planners. Written by the developer of the Free Management Library. Many materials in this Library's topic about strategic planning are adapted from this book. 30-day, money-back, guarantee!

For Nonprofits, Also See

Strategic Planning -- Recommended Books

Social Entrepreneurship (Nonprofit) -- Recommended Books

Capacity Building (Nonprofit) -- Recommended Books

Fundraising -- Recommended Books

Program Management -- Recommended Books

Leading -- Recommended Books

Training and Development -- Recommended Books

Volunteers -- Recommended Books






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