5 Secrets To Building Trust With Your Nonprofit Board

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In growwire.com’s latest installment on nonprofit strategy, Jillian Gordon, contributor at the Underground Group, writes about 5 Secrets To Building Trust With Your Nonprofit Board. Art in Action is thrilled to be highlighted in this piece, represented by our Executive Director, Mizgon Darby, who shares tips for board engagement through data-driven storytelling and collaboration.

As Mizgon begins her second year with the organization, she offers insights on how to build trust within an organization, especially in a time of transition. Mizgon’s 5 points for trust building include:

  1. Tell your board a story, through numbers.
  2. Customize these stories for individual board members.
  3. Communicate more than once per quarter.
  4. Ask your board’s opinion during critical decisions.
  5. Talk about why you all joined in the first place.

How to tell data-driven stories

When Mizgon started as the ED in 2017, Art in Action’s internal CRM, accounting and sales systems were disconnected. This meant that staff members were tasked with repetitive and time-consuming data entries.

A generous in-kind donation by NetSuite, spearheaded by Mizgon, enabled the organization to streamline its workflows. In order to tell a data-driven story the numbers must be available in real-time. This software enhancement paired with the addition of Director of Finance and Operations Christian Edoria, makes this strategic form of communication possible.

Art in Action is proud to have a board with diverse professional experiences. By tailoring data for each member, the organization is better able to inform and gain insights from the members’ expertise.

Beyond engagement, involvement

It is important to effectively communicate with and involve the board especially in key decision making. There is trust in transparency and while the numbers tell the story, there must be a well executed delivery of that message. However, the final of the five points might be the most important: ‘Talk about why you all joined in the first place.’ It is through this scope that we are able to connect to and feel association with one another. As fellow stakeholders in an organization, we share in valuing the mission. In Art in Action’s case, that is empowering students through arts education. In order to deliver on that mission, we must all collaborate, fueled by strategic insights.

Read more about Mizgon’s tips in Jillian Gordon’s piece, 5 Secrets To Building Trust With Your Nonprofit Board.

 “talk on a human level, and understand that you are both working toward a common goal. Really listen to one another. Having open dialogue is critical, and thinking of [board members] as part of the organization is key.”

Mizgon Darby