PMA Consulting, LLC

IABC Fosters Nonprofit Board Communications

The Charlotte chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) offers a fantastic resource to nonprofits in this region, and hosted its 8th annual workshop, Profitable Communications for Nonprofits, on March 26th.  Dianne Chase, David Coburn, Susanne Griffing and the CIABC leadership organized a very beneficial half-day session focused on hot topics for nonprofit leaders including marketing, strategic planning and social media.

For Patton McDowell & Associates, the event proved to be a fantastic opportunity to present to nearly 25 nonprofit organizations on one of my favorite topics: board development.  Specifically, the presentation was titled “Communicating with Your Board” and focused on overall strategies as well as specific tactics to keep your board informed and engaged. As we discussed, board members are a little more anxious these days given the challenging economy as well as the increased scrutiny that nonprofit organizations are facing.  We talked about three general concepts that can help staff members better communicate with their board, including addressing their fundraising concerns, sharpening the “elevator speech” that the organization needs to articulate, and being more attentive to stewardship than ever.  I then shared seven tactics that I thought could provide an immediate and positive impact  on board communications:

  • Individual “interviews” with board members
  • Reinforce the What and the Why
  • Contact former board members
  • Update your website
  • Provide comparative analysis
  • Develop a board communications calendar
  • Provide a key metric dashboard

The danger for many of us in the nonprofit community is overlooking our board members as an audience that deserves a well-defined communications strategy.  Instead of reacting to their concerns, a good communications plan can help assure your board remains a valuable ally at a time when you truly need their help.