So, you’re bringing on new board members. Congratulations! How are you going to train them?
It’s understandable if that question made you nervous. After all, board members carry a huge responsibility within your organization, and therefore, new members need to learn a ton of information as quickly as possible.
Don’t stress about this. Custom-developed e-learning courses are a great tool to facilitate new board member training. E-learning courses are scalable to train many members over time, can be custom-created to meet your exact needs, and their completion can be tracked to understand how new members are navigating through the onboarding process.
But, don’t just take our word for it. Let’s walk through three skills that new board members need to learn to be successful in their roles and how you can create effective e-learning to train them.
Take a moment to visualize the members of your board. Ideally, some of them have past experience working directly within a nonprofit—whether in a leadership position or as a volunteer. However, we’d guess that your board looks a little more like this:
Each of these board members brings a unique perspective to the table… but, it’s not necessarily a perspective that prepares them for the challenges of guiding a nonprofit organization. And, if they do have experience working with nonprofits, that experience may not be in a board member capacity—which is significantly different than volunteering a few weekends per month.
Board members have specific responsibilities that new members need to learn early in the onboarding process. These include:
But how do you communicate all of this without causing information overload? Here are a few tips to create an e-learning course that’s effective, but not overwhelming:
There is a ton of information that board members need to learn to be successful in their roles. By focusing on the need-to-know content, and making that content interesting, you’ll prep new members for success on their first day (and set the foundation for “on the job” learning down the line).
Let’s dial into one of the skills from the last section—the ability to advance the mission of your organization. Specifically, let’s start with sourcing resources and gifts to give your team the financial and in-kind support needed to advance your mission.
New members are joining your board because they are eager to serve… but that doesn’t mean that they’re inherently comfortable with the “gift solicitation” portion of that. For example, let’s say you’re conducting a capital campaign. In that scenario:
When it comes to major campaigns, board members are expected to step up and garner some of the major resources needed to fuel your campaign to success.
How can you train people who aren’t professional fundraisers to do just that? Here are a few tips to create effective e-learning courses to do so:
Soliciting gifts is a common pain point for those who are newer to the nonprofit world. Consider working with an e-learning content development company to create courses to help new board members overcome this obstacle. This team can not only build custom courses from the ground-up but also bring experience in course design and development to ensure the course is effective.
The board members you choose undoubtedly stand out in their communities—but, can they stand out as leaders for your nonprofit? Of course, not every board member is cut out to be the board chair or vice-chair… but that’s far from the only leadership position that members are expected to fill. Fundraising committees, campaign planning committees, legal committees, finance committees, and more—board members are required to help steer these groups to success.
Now, not every board member will join your organization ready to step into a leadership role. But in order to get them there, here’s how to create e-learning courses to elevate them to success:
Your board is not only public-facing but also responsible for upholding crucial legal and fiduciary considerations. The group needs to lead your organization with confidence—it’s that simple. While not every member will be a natural-born leader, e-learning courses can help build that confidence in no time.
Bringing on new board members is exciting. But at the same time, it’s a huge responsibility.
It’s your job to make sure these board members are set up for success from the start, with the shortest learning curve possible (after all, your mission isn’t pausing for board members to get up-to-speed).
E-learning courses are effective for training board members about their basic responsibilities, fundraising, leadership, and more. With these tips, your courses will have a strong foundation, and your new board members will be bound for success.
Author: Amy Morrisey
Amy Morrisey is the President of Artisan E-Learning and serves as Sales & Marketing Manager. Amy started with Artisan as a contract writer/instructional designer. She was our Production Manager for four years and helped the team to double its capacity. As President, she stays focused on maintaining the high standards our clients have grown to expect. She believes that staying close to our clients, our people, and our work is a smart way to do that. One of her favorite things to do in the e-learning world is jump in with a client to write a storyboard that is creative and application-based. Before working with Artisan, Amy spent 17 years in corporate training and development predominantly teaching leadership development and coaching teams and executives. She currently serves on the board of ATD Detroit.