Let me start with what I believe are the top 10 ingredients to a successful not-for-profit Board and as a result, a flourishing not-for-profit organisation. Then if you want to, you can read a little of my back story about why I feel I can make these suggestions. I welcome further comments and/or a message from you if you have something to share.
- Treat the organisation like a profitable business with a plan, a top team to run it and a clear vision of how the product and/or service will enhance the lives of members.
- Clearly define the organisations target market and ensure all that you do is for member benefit.
- Plan everything and be consistent – Events Calendar dates and times 12 months ahead. Monthly Board meetings on the same day and time etc.
- Lead from the top and create a good culture.
- Instill passion, direction & be clear about the goals of the organisation and what is expected of the Board members.
- Recruit Board members based on their skills, enthusiasm, passion for the cause and culture fit (as you would for a business).
- Keep all Board members accountable – if they are not meeting their targets and responsibilities, provide the opportunity to someone who will.
- Educate Board Members about how to leverage off the networks & experience of being on a not-for-profit Board, there is only so much you can do for the love of it.
- Build an organic group of like-minded organisational members & you build an army of advocates.
- Establish an advisory group and collaborate with other organisations similar to yours & share ideas.
Last week, I arrived a little late to the Brisbane Junior Chamber of Commerce (BJCC) Christmas Party at Capri by Fraser. In all honesty, I felt a little apprehensive as I was attending this event no longer the President or any member of the Board and this had not been the case for over 2 years. However, my fears were soon squashed as I was greeted by the most spirited, happy and colourful BJCC Board members who have become my valued friends. Board and valued BJCC members chatted with me about their positive experience with the Chamber and impact I had made. Suddenly, the tireless voluntary hours of service over the past few years washed away and I could rest with the knowledge that I had made a difference to this organisation.
My journey with the Chamber began in 2013 when I moved from Toowoomba to Brisbane to pursue a new career in marketing. I was looking for avenues to extend my networks from a professional and personal perspective. I was involved with the Future Leaders Program in the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce (equivalent to BJCC) before I moved to Brisbane. A friend invited me to a BJCC Boardroom Briefing event in 2014 and I thought that sounded like the community for me. At the time, Jason Andrew was President (an excellent leader and now successful businessman) and I decided then and there I did not want to just contribute as a member, I wanted to make a difference so offered my marketing services to the BJCC Board and gradually worked my way up to President.
In 2014, the Board was small and Matthew Brannelly who reignited the junior chamber flame was heavily involved. Over the years Board members came and went, ideas were raised, trialled and tested but the essence of the Chamber remained the same for me. Our role is to represent our members – what do our members want and how can we provide for them?
I watched the BJCC grow and develop over the years and found the decision to resign from my post as President difficult, but it was time. I can comfortably move on to another Board role as I am leaving this not-for-profit organisation in the best hands. The composition of the current Board is eclectic, passionate and talented. I know the Board will follow my suggested ingredients creating a successful not-for-profit organisation which will make a difference to our members, young professionals in the Brisbane CBD. I look forward to seeing the Chamber grow.
I congratulate Nathan Schokker for his successful appointment as the new President of the BJCC and also Lana Thomas as Vice President. I know the combination of skills, experience and drive of these 2 individuals in combination with the rest of the Board members (Nicholas Capell, Lauren Dodson, Ebony Granada, Hamish George, Jacinta Andrews, Paris Gray, Samuel Denman and Ben Reeves) will move the Chamber forward.
In closing, thank you friends of the BJCC Board and valued members for providing me with such a valuable life experience as well as a genuine and cheerful send off. I encourage all people to actively participate in a not-for-profit Board and make a difference in this world.