Scheduling a volunteer board is perhaps one of the most difficult tasks in running your organization. The board has to meet, but no one is available, and getting everyone in the same room sometimes feels like getting a cat into a bathtub. Fortunately, there are some things you can do that will for sure make getting these meetings scheduled easier.
Use a Scheduling Tool
This is almost always a go to answer for making things easier, but finding a digital scheduling tool can really simplify the scheduling process. The key here is to ensure that the tool you select is easy to use and will be adopted by your board. The best option is usually to use parts of toolsets that already exist in your ecosystem, but tools for scheduling, particularly useful tools, are hard to find. This is sort of a niche, so finding the right tool will likely have you looking outside what you are already using.
Schedule Meetings Around Organizational Functions
Sometimes this is difficult. Board meetings should have a clear start and stopping point, which is sometimes even more difficult. Many volunteer boards are full of active participants in your organization, heck it might even be a requirement to be an active participant, so a great way to increase board attendance is to schedule your meeting before or after an organization’s regular activities. Something to be particularly careful about here though is creating too long of a day for your board. Make sure that they are fresh for meetings, not ready to walk out the door.
Hold Regularly Scheduled Meetings
No better way to simplify the scheduling of meetings, and likely increase attendance than having a standing meeting day. Meet the first Tuesday of each month, or the first Monday of each quarter. Set a schedule and stick with it. Remember it is always ok to schedule additional meetings if necessary.
Plan Your Meeting
Making sure that you have a well thought out and planned meeting will make it easier for your board members to buy in and follow along with scheduling the meeting. Nobody wants to agree to attend a meeting when they don’t know what it is about. Making sure that the important items are on the agenda will help increase buy in. Even having a meeting agenda prior to scheduling can help, but don’t be afraid to make necessary adjustments to the agenda after the schedule is set.
Discuss Pertinent Topics
There is really nothing worse than going to a meeting that has been scheduled to discuss one quick issue, and be out the door in 5 or 10 minutes. Value your board members time, and their travel. Make sure that you have a meeting need before calling a meeting. Sometimes this can’t be controlled because by-laws require meetings at certain intervals, and if this is the case and a meeting is necessary with a very small agenda, find a creative way to meet. Board meetings over putt-putt are always interesting, as are board meetings at the ice cream shop. You’ll have to find the right method for you, but this can be a nice treat.