Boards are People, Too


Too often we think of our boards – Library, Friends, Foundation, and others – as units that operate as a whole. Yet we all know that boards are made up of diverse individuals with unique perspectives, talents, and interests. It is worthwhile to think often about the “people-side” of our boards, and nurture the needs of the individuals serving on the library’s behalf.

Boards – especially your Friends/Foundation – are social groups that need to be fostered and grown. The best boards are ones where people socialize and the individuals come to engage each other and even develop lifelong friendships. Holding occasional social events or activities where board members can work together helps secure closer bonds and relationships which, in turn, can strengthen board trust and effectiveness.

Boards are networking opportunities that need to be cultivated. This is especially true when it comes to board member recruitment. People are attracted to joining groups or networks that connect them to meaningful associations that are of interest or meaningful to their work or lives. Work in the community to expand the library’s and board networks (Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, arts or social service organizations, etc.), to ultimately make your board more attractive and connected.

People like to be successful, so structure and celebrate successes specifically for your board.  Nothing motivates people like a “win,” so be sure to set goals that are achievable, but also directly related to the work of the board. Groups come together and are motivated to take on the next, bigger task, if they’ve already accomplished something as a group.

In managing the growth and development of your board, be sure to pay attention to members motivations and personal perspectives, as well as building a solid structure of policies, procedures, and operations.