Whether you were just elected, appointed or volunteered to serve on a board, congratulations and thank you for your service.
Now you may be asking, “What have I gotten myself into?”
Consider it a journey that begins with the first step: getting to know the organization. Learning the budget and finances, bylaws and general operating practices takes time. With support from other board members and some patience, the transition can be smooth.
Some easy things to do before the first meeting are:
- Learn the basics of parliamentary procedure, www.rulesonline.com.
- Review the open meetings and records laws. If the organization receives public funds, it is subject to the open records and meetings laws. The guides are useful resources to have for a reference. See https://attorneygeneral.nd.gov/open-records-meetings.
- Utilize any trainings provided by lead organizations:
▪ North Dakota League of Cities - www.ndlc.org
▪ North Dakota Association of Counties - www.ndaco.org
▪ North Dakota School Boards Association - http://ndsba.org
▪ North Dakota Township Officers Association - www.ndtoa.com
Board dynamics change with new members and their personalities and beliefs. Trust takes time to build. Remember, different perspectives are important because they help board members see issues from different angles.
Most importantly, whether you agree on an issue or not, always be respectful of one another and establish ground rules for meetings and stick to them.
If you are attending your first meeting or you are a seasoned member, focus on the mission of the organization and work to support one another and staff to meet that mission.
NDSU Extension offers a one-day Lead Local training for aspiring, elected or appointed leaders serving on boards, councils and committees. The training will help present or future board members:
- Feel better prepared to serve as an effective board, council or committee member
- Recognize the components of an effective meeting
- Learn basic parliamentary procedure and how to use it
- Understand different personality styles and how people can work together effectively
- Use effective tools when dealing with conflict
The one-day interactive session assists board members in building their tool kit to better serve the mission of their organizations.
For more information on Lead Local, go to www.ag.ndsu.edu/lead/leadership-development-program/lead-local.
Best of luck and thank you for your service.
Extension Program Coordinator, Leadership and Community Development