This being Veteran’s Day, I thought I would point to Simone Joyaux’s recent piece on Non-Profit Quarterly dealing with veterans of smaller scale conflicts- ex-board members.
Simone enjoins people to remember that most former board members still believe in your cause even after they have served and shouldn’t be treated like a generic donor. She lists many ways to keep former board members involved and in the loop, including enlisting them to help with board recruitment and fund raising efforts.
This article caught my attention because last week I had attended a board meeting of the community organization with which we partner. During the meeting, they dealt with the departure of one board member, the conferring of emeritus status on another (she is 103 years old, she earned it), and the approval of 4 new board members.
The board member who was leaving said he envisioned remaining involved with the organization whether he liked it or not given that he has never left job where he didn’t end up continuing to provide advice.
You often don’t get someone explicitly saying they want to stay involved like that, but you should make the effort to keep them in the loop and provide the opportunity.
Of the 4 people who will be joining the board, 2 have served before.
Which illustrates something that Simone didn’t mention–you want to treat a former board member well because it is likely that the set of people in your community willing to serve on non-profit boards isn’t so large that you won’t end up asking former members to serve again.