On March 3, Amy Nisenson offered lots of sound advice on navigating the potential pitfalls of having Board Members of a nonprofit become part of the regular volunteer corps at the nonprofit.
In her presentation, “Effective Volunteer, Staff and Board Relations (aka How to Avoid Sticky Situations),” Amy pointed out the important roles of the board members as providing governance: setting direction, steering, and providing oversight. Some nonprofits have discouraged board members from donning the hat of direct service volunteers but others would like to engage their board members as volunteers to increase the Board commitment to and knowledge of the nonprofit mission.
Amy pointed out that all volunteers should receive the same treatment throughout the application process, onboarding and orientation, and the expectations for the volunteer team should be very clear. In spite of that, GRAVA members in the audience were able to share examples of how that process could go awry without clear policies and commitment to those policies by the Director and the Board Chair.
A big thank you to Amy for suggesting great ways to deal with “sticky” issues and to the GRAVA attendees who kept the discussion lively. Amy provided both her slides and a suggested resources list, and everyone is looking forward to digging deeper into these issues at our April meeting. Thanks to the Appomattox Regional Library System for hosting this event.