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Board Development

Whether your board is new, seasoned, or somewhere in between, Christy Honigman and Associates can help you strengthen its leadership capacity and effectiveness. Through customized development activities, our associates can help your board gain the skills and confidence needed to achieve big goals.

Our work combines our personal experience of serving on boards with our skill as management consultants to nonprofit organizations of all types and sizes.

Click these links to learn more about our specific Board Development Services:

Board Training >

Board Retreat Facilitation >

New Board Member Recruiting >

Board Member Orientation >

Strategic Goal-Setting and Planning

Board/Executive Director Relations >

Board Training

People serve on boards out of a commitment to contribution and service. How do you build on that commitment to create an effective and powerful board? Board members come from diverse backgrounds and represent a variety of interests, skills and experiences. Molding a group of people into an effective board takes both the commitment of the individual board members, and a process for forming the board into an effective team guiding the organization.

Every board needs to re-examine its direction and goals from time to time. Whether you are interested in thinking strategically, reevaluating your board policies, or improving your board/management relations, our associates can help you.  Our board development consulting service brings the tools to your organization that will enable you to improve your board/manager processes and develop your leadership potential.

We can help you:

  • Conduct board development/management training to facilitate collaboration between executive leadership and the board
  • Clarify board roles, responsibilities, and relationships with staff
  • Introduce methods and processes for building a strong board
  • Structure the board to capitalize on the talents of each member
  • Design a process for recruiting new board members and cultivating leadership within the board
  • Evaluate current board culture and suggest enhancements
  • Establish accountability and performance reviews
  • Improve structure of committees and overall communication
  • Facilitate problem solving, decision-making, and creative activities among board members

Christy Honigman and Associates tailors training programs specifically to your organization’s needs. Our training strategies employ workshops, meeting facilitation, retreats, and one-on-one consultations with board leadership – or a combination of these.

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Board Retreat Facilitation

Most nonprofit organizations, in their intense focus and justified determination to help their communities, find they have little time left to deal with their own internal managerial and operational challenges. Inefficiencies may creep in; opportunities may slip away; simmering problems can go unaddressed until they become much larger.

The annual board retreat is the one opportunity for in-depth discussion of critical governance and strategic issues without the distraction of routine board business that gobbles up almost all meetings.

We ask the big picture questions. What do you hope to accomplish, and what will success look like?

Strategic focus points for the session may include:

  • Identifying what is important for both the board and the organization
  • Making what is important doable and manageable
  • Making choices that reflect what is important
  • Adopting practices that enhance effectiveness

These principles underlie the key elements of our Board Effectiveness program:

  • Defining the role of your board in guiding the agency
  • Defining the accountabilities of the board, and of individual board members
  • Designing your board committee accountabilities, structures and practices
  • Creating an ongoing board development program
  • Inventing a shared vision and mission for your board
  • Designing long-term and short-term objectives
  • Creating strategies and plans to guide the work
  • Identifying and designing key projects
  • Fashioning clear priorities to guide the work
  • Designing ways of working together that foster one team and one mission

Our approach includes workshops, meeting facilitation and retreats. All our work with your board is designed to address the needs, issues and concerns of your board and agency.

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New Board Member Recruiting

Christy Honigman and Associates assists nonprofit organizations in developing strategic recruitment plans. In doing so, we provide advice for assembling boards of directors that will provide financial, administrative, and programmatic leadership for their organizations.

We help with board recruitment by:

  • Planning a recruitment strategy and creating a board profile grid tailored to your organization’s mission and constituency
  • Developing materials, including job descriptions, bylaws and other governing documents, program descriptions, and orientation materials appropriate for your nonprofit board
  • Coaching your board throughout its member recruitment efforts

This will guarantee that your organization will take an organized rather than episodic approach to recruitment, ensuring that you have all the necessary skills and diversity on your board to truly be effective.

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Board Member Orientation

How do board members acquire the skills and knowledge they need to be effective leaders and decision-makers? Most volunteers have little idea of their roles and responsibilities when they become board members. A productive orientation makes them more effective board members quickly.

In the past, boards brought on new members with little experience, little training and assumed they would pick up what they needed to know. Today it is important that organizations are governed by people who understand their role as a board member in leading their organization. People want to be effective board members but don’t always have all the knowledge or experience they need.

Christy Honigman and Associates offers nonprofit board member training that clarifies your board members' roles, responsibilities, and functions.

Our customized training addresses:

  • The role of the board
  • Setting the mission and vision of the organization (What’s our purpose?)
  • Identifying and developing effective board members
  • Understanding financial statements
  • Hiring and evaluating the executive director or chief executive officer
  • Running effective board meetings
  • Creating successful annual board retreats
  • Creating a culture for success from the board on down

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Board – Executive Director Relations

How should the board and the executive director relate?

There is probably no single relationship in your nonprofit organization as important as that between the board and its executive director. Keeping this relationship clear and productive is one of the biggest challenges facing many nonprofits.

Christy Honigman and Associates understands the best way to maximize board and executive director effectiveness. We help you establish an environment that fosters open communication, accountability and cooperation between your board and executive director

As a general rule of thumb, boards govern, and staff manages. We provide guidance on ways to distinguish between shaping policy and hands-on management. We can help the executive director and board members clarify the board's role and strengthen its organizational capacity.

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