Make your meetings matter

Regularly scheduled meetings at many nonprofits are a waste of time and resources.

Instead of stimulating thinking about big issues and challenges facing the organization, board and staff meetings are stuck in the rut of routine matters that easily could be handled through email distribution of reports and budgets.

Meetings represent a great opportunity to keep your board and staff informed about what matters at your nonprofit and engaged in fulfilling its promise.

For each meeting, pick a big hurdle or opportunity at your nonprofit, brief your board and staff by email in advance, and then use the meeting to enlist their ideas and suggestions about how to deal with the problem or seize the opportunity.

Instead of simply giving a tedious recital of your boiler-plate agenda items, and then asking everyone attending to say briefly what they are working on, carve out time at every meeting to talk about the big picture .

What is your nonprofit’s vision, or your dream for your community? What is your your mission, or your role in making that dream a reality? What is the urgent community need you address? What difference are you making in the lives of the people you serve? Are routine daily tasks or high-maintenance board members, donors or employees diverting you from your mission and attention to big challenges? Why are you not raising more money? Are you truly integrating your communications into your overall business strategy?

Your staff and board are your core asset and the people you count on to advance your mission. Use your regular meetings to engage and inspire them.

Want help?

Philanthropy North Carolina is a consulting practice that provides writing and strategic communications support for nonprofits, foundations, colleges and universities, and others working for social good.

To find out more about hiring Philanthropy North Carolina to work with your organization to improve your communications, contact Todd Cohen at 919.272.2051 or

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