Leveraging key volunteers

[Editor’s note: Michael L. Weamer, CAE, is executive vice president of the American Heart Association. This article was provided by StreamLink Software, a provider of Board Management solutions. StreamLink is a PJ business partner.]

Michael L. Weamer

What helps create board confidence? Good communication.StreamLink Software

Good communication is built upon getting the right information, to the right people at the right time.

This statement is easy to say, but hard to do and almost impossible with boards and other leadership volunteers, if you do not have a good system to manage the process.

With increased scrutiny, decreased resources and more to do, we in the nonprofit sector face the following challenge of getting the right information to the right people at the right time.

Being able to access the right information is harder at nonprofit organizations than in almost any other environment, for two reasons:

* Mission-accomplishment organizations have fewer resources to spend on infrastructure.

* Nonprofit organizations have multiple staff members doing multiple jobs, which can lead to very complex and non-standardized ways of storing and accessing information.

Nonprofits also face the challenge of ensuring the right people are on your board, measuring your organization against your own benchmarks, and ensuring that rosters and email lists are accurate and up-to-date.

We also start each day with a list of things to do, and at the end of the day, more days than not, our to-do list is longer than when the day started.

It is not because we do not accomplish great things or meet the majority of the daily demands, but because there is just not enough infrastructure to manage the demand.

The role of communication is then delegated and difficult to coordinate

A good system, and they do exist, addresses these challenges and stores information related to both individual leadership volunteers and groups of volunteers, including boards and committees, and provides quick, transparent and efficient access to board-related data.

Best practice performance can be tracked and monitored on a monthly basis with no additional staff time.

Through a good system, we are able to provide effective communication and convey sound management to our board, which has resulted in a more confident and committed leadership volunteer group.

By having a system in place, I know our most important asset – the board — is being developed and leveraged to a higher degree of success.

StreamLink helps nonprofit organizations strengthen trust through board and relationship management. We are pleased to work with premier organizations, like the American Heart Association, to provide them with the leading board engagement system. By enabling organizations to understand, track, communicate and measure performance of both boards/committees and individual members, best practices are implemented without having to rely on volunteer participation with the system.

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