Basic Guidelines and Sample Agenda for Board Training Session

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    Basic Guidelines
    and Sample Agenda
    for Board Training Session

    Vast majority of content
    in this topic applies to for-profits and nonprofits. This book also covers this topic.

    Developing, Operating and Restoring Your Nonprofit Board - Book Cover

    © 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.


    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
    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

    Return to Free Complete Toolkit for Boards

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