A board member welcome package is a simple and effective tool designed to give new members a head start.
Board members provide tremendous value to your nonprofit, helping you achieve your mission by lending their time, connections, skills, and financial resources. Show your appreciation to new board members by giving them a board member welcome letter and packet prior to new board member orientation. A board member welcome packet doesn’t need to be fancy. Just ensure it reflects your organization’s personality. Think of it as a first impression: You want it to be thoughtful and memorable!
Welcoming new board members soon? Read on for more about creating a board member welcome template.
Importance of the Board Member Welcome Template
A great board welcome letter serves two purposes. First, it makes your new board member feel excited about the opportunity to join your organization, and second, it sets them up for success. A template for that packet saves you time, as you don’t have to start from scratch.
The new board member welcome template serves as a guiding document. It’s the single source of truth about the organization, which members can use to prepare the official welcome packet. The welcome packet for new members helps them hit the ground running by providing all the resources needed to be successful, including:
- An overview of the organization, including vision, goals, history, and values
- Bios and contact information of other board members and an org chart
- Welcome letter
- Previous meeting minutes
How to Write a Board Member Welcome Template
You’ve spent the last few months tirelessly recruiting, interviewing, and vetting candidates for your board of directors. Finally, your board is ready to go! As you send out all the necessary confirmations and deliver a great onboarding experience, don’t forget the following critical steps:
Write a Short Welcome Letter
A well-crafted welcome message lays the groundwork for an effective board relationship from day one. It sets expectations on both sides, and helps ensure new members are engaged and productive from their first meeting onward. Include congratulations and a thanksgiving message for becoming part of the organization.
Include Access to Important Documents
Every board member should receive a folder that includes:
- An agenda for their first board meeting and relevant background information about the organization and its current activities
- A cover letter from the executive director or board chair that outlines the key areas in which the new board member is expected to participate and any specific requirements of the position
- Previous meeting minutes, financial statements, and other documents that provide insight into the organization’s history and challenges
- Board bylaws, which include basic organization information, statement of purpose, board structure, board officer list, committee rules, compensation and identification policies, election rules, voting rules, meeting guidelines, and conflict-of-interest policies
Providing access to these documents not only helps your new board members get up to speed quickly, but shows how much you value them and how committed you are to helping them succeed in their roles. Ideally, offer this information in a way that’s visually appealing and easy for busy board members to reference at their leisure. It can be challenging to create time to read, but a simple laid-out plan motivates reading for the board members amidst their busy schedules.
Include Contact Information for Other Members
Imagine this: You just joined a new board and are excited to get started. The first meeting is approaching fast, and you’re ready to dive right in. Then, the day arrives, and you find out your organization doesn’t have any onboarding process to help introduce you to everyone else on the board.
Communication among board members enables them to talk and collaborate on different ideas. And what better way than to find contacts in the welcome packet? This allows new members to start the first meeting in sync with the rest of the team.
Outline Board Accomplishments and New Initiatives
The best board welcome packages go a step further by outlining the organization’s achievements and plans. This helps members understand what to expect, appreciate the organization, and consider ways to accomplish new initiatives.
List Upcoming Board Meetings
Share a list of upcoming board meetings so your new members can add them to their calendar. With a board portal, all the documents listed above and a schedule of board events can be securely stored in one place and accessible to board members at any time.
A board portal also helps boards run effective meetings, take minutes, collaborate, and communicate. When spending the time and effort creating a board member welcome template, a board portal ensures safe storage for the documents and an easy way to deliver them quickly to new members.
About The Author
- Josh Palmer serves as OnBoard's Head of Content. An experienced content creator, his previous roles have spanned numerous industries including B2C and B2B home improvement, healthcare, and software-as-a-service (SaaS). An Indianapolis native and graduate of Indiana University, Palmer currently resides in Fishers, Ind.
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