An advisory board is a formal body that provides non-binding strategic advice to the management of a corporation, organization, or foundation. The primary purpose of an advisory board is to help an organization achieve its goals by offering independent perspectives and expertise. However, effective advisory boards also provide a valuable networking opportunity for their members and help build relationships between an organization and its stakeholders.
There are several types of advisory boards, and the best way to manage one depends on the specific purpose and composition of the board. In general, however, there are a few key things to keep in mind when running an effective advisory board:
1. Define The Board’s Purpose And Objectives
You can’t manage an effective advisory board if you don’t know what it’s supposed to do. Is the board meant to provide advice on strategic decisions? Help with fundraising? Serve as a sounding board for new ideas? Ensure your clarity about the board’s purpose from the outset, and make sure that all members understand their roles and responsibilities.
2. Recruit The Right People
The success of an advisory board depends on the quality of its members. When recruiting new members, look for individuals who have the experience and expertise that will be valuable to the board. It’s also important to make sure that board members are committed to the organization and its goals; look for people who are passionate about the mission and who will be engaged with the board’s work.
3. Create A Structure And Set Rules
An advisory board should have a clear structure and rules to ensure that it functions effectively. Decide in advance how often the board will meet, what type of meeting format will be used, and what information will be shared with members. It’s also important to establish ground rules for making decisions and how disagreements will be handled.
4. Communicate Effectively
Communication is critical to the success of advisory boards. Make sure that you keep board members informed about the organization’s work and progress and solicit their feedback regularly. When communicating with the board, be clear, concise, and organized to ensure everyone is on the same page.
5. Be Prepared
Advisory boards only function if they are well-prepared. Before each meeting, make sure that you have a clear agenda and that all materials have been distributed to board members in advance. Be sure to keep things on track and moving forward; avoid getting bogged down in side conversations or tangents.
6. Follow Up
After each advisory board meeting, be sure to follow up with board members to thank them for their time and input. Send out meeting minutes or a summary of the discussion, and ensure that all action items are assigned and followed upon. Keep board members updated on the organization’s progress, and let them know how their advice has been used.
7. Evaluate And Adjust
Periodically evaluate the advisory board to see how it’s functioning and make adjustments as needed. Enquire the board members for feedback and their experience, and use it to improve the process. Be open to making changes to the structure or rules of the board if it will help the board function more effectively.
Advisory boards can be an invaluable asset to any organization, but only if managed effectively. You can ensure that your advisory board is a productive and valuable resource by following these tips.