by Kara Harrison, senior consultant, Hedges

We’ve all experienced it, and we know exactly what it feels like. Having a disengaged board is disheartening and can be a strain on already limited resources. It takes precious time away from the reason why the organization exists.

Disengagement is hard to define, and it’s even harder to fix. It takes time and intentionality. Before we dig in to why your board may not be engaged, let’s first paint a picture of what a disengaged board might look like:

  • Board meetings are an update session where the board is being talked at and passively listening to reports.
  • Executive directors feel like they are managing up to the board.
  • Board meetings feel like a scene out of “Groundhog Day”, the same challenges being shared by staff and the same questions being asked by the board.
  • The same two or three board members are doing everything, and they are exhausted. It’s likely you are ignoring term limits just to keep these board members, because you can’t imagine what would happen without them.
  • Board members only see each other in the board room. There are no social events for board and staff to get to know each other personally and build respect and connection.