Executive Director Kathy Rager (Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., careofmacomb.com) said a change in board structure required a two-year undertaking but yielded amazing results in terms of board engagement.
“It takes more time on the part of me as executive director, but has paid off many times over in increased board involvement, commitment and satisfaction,” she said.
The change collapsed the board committee structure into two key committees, Rager said.
The first is an internal operations committee that works in the areas of personnel, facilities and finance with an audit subcommittee. The second primary committee is an external/outreach committee that focuses on fund development, program development and evaluation, Rager said.
A final change in committee structure was establishment of a governance committee, Rager said. “The governance committee takes their role in the recruitment of new committee and board members, training and board member evaluation seriously,” she said.
The governance committee has increased the commitment and accountability of board members, Rager said.
The new structure has streamlined board work. “The new committee structure allows for decisions regarding employee benefits, expenditures and other budget items to be handled one time instead of working on items at the personnel committee level and then having to go to finance, who may disagree with personnel because of budget constraints,” Rager said.
Establishment of the external/outreach committee has clarified the board’s work in these areas, Rager said. Committees and ambassadors (people who support the organization in a nonboard capacity) have the opportunity to spread the word about the organization’s mission as well as connect them to fund development opportunities, she said.
To work through the changes, the board established a transition team. This team consisted of board members and management staff. The change required a review and update of the organization’s bylaws, articles of incorporation and governance policies, Rager said.
The board now meets every other month (down from monthly meetings), with committee meetings taking place in alternate months, she said.