Monday, October 15, 2007

Recognition

This entry ends the four-part series on the components that make up my LeaderCulture model.

How does your nonprofit recognize the contributions of its board members? How do your board members prefer to be recognized for their contributions of time and expertise? What value do you really place on the board’s leadership of the organization?

Recognition should be freely given, varied, timely and individualized (Don’t know how an individual board member likes to be recognized? Ask!) It reinforces the qualities that your nonprofit values in its leaders and models desired contributions for others who aspire to a leadership role in the future.

When most of us hear the word “recognition,” we probably think first of appreciation banquets, plaques or certificates, and other formal mechanisms. But informal methods also can be meaningful – sometimes more than the token handed out once a year for some board volunteers (I fall into that category myself.). A sincere, timely thank you – verbal or hand-written – can hold particular power for many individuals.

Board members may appreciate less obvious acknowledgment forms. For example, some may find motivation in being asked to assume a leadership role with more responsibility. Others may appreciate opportunities to attend training sessions on behalf of the organization, events that expand both their capacity to serve and their set of skills that transfer to other areas of their lives.

Examine the ways in which you recognize board volunteers. Do you have a strong understanding of the types of motivators that drive each member? Do you attempt to tailor your acknowledgments to their preferred methods? Identify new recognition vehicles that may inspire board members in different ways. Don’t be afraid to be creative in showing your board members you value their commitment.