5 Easy Ways to Engage Board Members

  • By: Josh Palmer
  • June 10, 2022
Ways to Engage Board Members
Reading Time: 3 minutes


While a board of directors brings strong industry connections and the ability to take the organization to the next level, that’s only possible if they’re highly engaged and personally involved in the organization’s mission and vision. The good news is they’ve already expressed interest in your organization’s work by joining the board. To fully engage board members, you must support the board by providing the direction, tools, and strategy necessary for them to fulfill their duties.

Deeply engaged members are the lifeblood of a board that works toward a shared goal. Read on to learn 5 ways to engage board members. 

What is a Board Engagement Plan? 

Whether for corporate or nonprofit boards, a board engagement plan outlines the steps and procedures your organization will follow to increase member engagement. 

When creating a board engagement plan, executive directors should evaluate the current board engagement level to decide if it’s working. For example, do you want your nonprofit board members to be more involved in the daily proceedings? Or do you want them to brainstorm and pitch solid fundraising ideas at board meetings? Outline these expectations, and communicate them to your board members. Without a clear list of expectations, even the most invested board members struggle to achieve board goals. 

Corporations, associations, and nonprofit boards play a key role in making big decisions concerning an organization’s operations. At the core of a deeply engaged board is one vital goal: moving the mission and brand of an organization forward. 

But how do you engage board members? 

Tips to Boost Board Member Engagement

Board engagement depends on what executive directors and leadership can do to involve corporate, agency, or nonprofit board members more in an organization’s mission, operation, and goals. Consult these 5 actionable ways to engage board members. 

1. Invest in the Right Technology

The right boardroom technology increases involvement and streamlines communication, making it easy for board members to participate in board activities. 

A board portal platform helps eliminate inefficiencies by providing a unified platform where one copy of vital board documents is accessible by all board members from anywhere in the world. 

In addition, OnBoard’s engagement analytics provide real-time insights into whether members have interacted with the board resources on the platform. For example, you can see what sections of the agenda are getting the most attention, making it easy to know what topics require a deeper dive. 

One of the key ways we’ve seen leaders increase board engagement is pre-meeting preparation,” says Tim Vire, OnBoard senior manager, customer success. “The more prepared your board members are, the more effective and engaged your board is.”

2. Encourage Member-to-Member Communication

An engaged and effective board includes members who communicate effectively with each other. Equip busy board members with virtual communication tools like Zoom or secure messenger so they can communicate with each other on their own time and no matter their location. Allowing for asynchronous communication keeps the brainstorming and conversation going outside of regularly scheduled board meetings.

3. Conduct Routine Board Evaluations

Without regular evaluations and feedback, board members can feel unappreciated and become disengaged. Board evaluations measure board members’ accountability, effectiveness, and transparency. Specifically, the assessment examines roles and responsibilities, behavior patterns of board members, and whether the board follows the best practices in their structures and procedures. 

Evaluating your board provides a real picture of board engagement and helps you level set duties going forward.  Learn how to conduct a board evaluation in 5 easy steps.

4. Host Virtual Happy Hours

At the heart of a deeply engaged board lies camaraderie and collaboration. A virtual happy hour unifies and energizes board members while encouraging them to work as a team. 

Incorporate fun team-building activities like scavenger hunts or online trivia to break the ice and help board members build meaningful connections. While they may seem insignificant, small virtual events bring board members together and enable them to create connections, which can steer them to stick together when handling issues that matter. 

5. Leverage Members’ Expertise

Has it ever occurred to you that your board itself might be the untapped resource for boosting engagement? Board members feel more engaged when they can contribute in areas in which they have direct, hands-on experience. Leverage members’ expertise to boost engagement. A tool like Skills Tracking allows you to identify members’ strengths, then put them to work in those areas.

Increase Board Member Engagement With OnBoard

Fully engaged board members work together to solve problems and propel your organization to the next level. A board portal platform like OnBoard includes powerful features to enhance board collaboration, measure engagement, and drive effectiveness. 

Want to give your board the tools they need to stay engaged and invested? Request a free trial of OnBoard.


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About The Author

Josh Palmer
Josh Palmer
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.