Increased Communications, Personal Touches Help Keep Boards Active During Pandemic

How have you kept your board members active and engaged during the last year when many of their own organizations may be struggling?

Josh Driskell, IOM
Jenks (OK) Chamber

For us at the Jenks Chamber, keeping our board members active and engaged this past year has meant being more purposeful in our communications between board meetings. Reports to the board were more frequent and included more detail than they might have in the past. Rather than snapshots and updates, we included more forecasting and explanations.

We also increased one-on-one communications and check-ins with our board and our members in general. In the past, we relied more on in-person visits but, like all chambers, were unable to do so. We pivoted to phone calls and text messages to address general and, at times, very specific needs each member and board member had.

Kathi Roetter, IOM
Executive Director
Troy Area (OH) Chamber

We found that the pandemic created a common need and sense of urgency that united the board and motivated them to be more involved because it impacted each of them, no matter the size of their business.

We kept the board active and involved through increased communication. Transitioning all communication to the board portal we use allowed the board to find key information quickly and respond to it to keep the chamber moving forward while other organizations were paralyzed.

Patrick Ellis, ACE
Murrieta/Wildomar (CA) Chamber

It has been difficult to keep board members engaged over the last year with the challenges that we have been facing. The most successful activity that we did with our board members was changed the way we executed our annual board retreat.

Instead of going away for a couple days to dive into strategic planning, we broke our retreat into three days with specific expectations from each of the days. Our attendance was better than any of our past board retreats and it really helped us identify the most important goals for our organization and shine the light on the things we do that are truly important to our board and members.

Jill Rowland-Lagan, ACE
Boulder City (NV) Chamber

I am grateful to have a board of directors that is continually active and engaged because they committed to making their board commitment their first civic priority. Yes, they are each having their own business or corporate challenges, but they are also keeping the chamber top-of-mind.

I believe that having wonderful facilitators help with orientation and training of our board each year has prepared them to meet this challenging time head on. This has been a huge support system and safety net for staff, volunteers and investors, allowing the chamber to be the beacon of light in our community during this rather dark and frustrating time.

Amanda Blackwood
Sacramento Metro (CA) Chamber

In this time of remote work, remote school, remote everything—there is truly nothing like picking up the phone and checking in on folks as human beings.

Our team made over 2,000 outreach calls in 2020 and while some were about PPP [Paycheck Protection Program], elections and CARES [Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act] compliance, the vast majority were human connections about kids, stresses, mental health and taking a moment to control the things you can and just breathe through the rest.