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Shaping Your Board to Support Your MCP Program

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1 Shaping Your Board to Support Your MCP Program
Jerry Dash, President/CEO Volunteers in Prevention, Probation and Prisons, Inc. (VIP Mentoring), Detroit, Michigan MCP Support Center Advisory Board Member MCP Peer Monitoring Reviewer

2 An Overview . . . WHY should your organization invest in board development for your MCP program? How can board development for your MCP program be implemented? Best Practices for board development (Advisory or Governing boards) Regardless of whether your MCP program is part of an existing organization (i.e. school, agency) or a separate organization, a board (Advisory or Governing) , if developed properly, can support the development of your MCP program. The decision to have a formal board structure, such as a board of directors or a less formal advisory board, will be based on your MCP program design and whether you will be a freestanding program, partner with another organization or be part of a larger organization. In any case, your board should provide vision and leadership for your MCP program. If you decide on a formal board of directors, the board will have legal and fiduciary responsibility for your MCP program, so the selection of directors is very important and should reflect key areas of expertise you need, including legal, financial, organizational and program management. Many boards also include members who represent the constituency that is being served. If, on the other hand, your MCP program is part of a larger, established organization, or if you will/are partnering with another established organization, and a board of directors is already in place, you can create your advisory board in a number of ways, such as adding people with interest and experience in mentoring to the board of your organization and/or creating a standing committee within the current board structure with specific responsibilities for your MCP program.

3 Develop a strategic plan specifically for your MCP program.
Think Strategically . . . What are your organization’s MCP goals (short and long term)? What skills, attributes, and talents do you need to achieve your MCP goals? Best Practice: Develop a strategic plan specifically for your MCP program. KEY FUNCTIONS OF A BOARD: • Clarify the organization’s MCP mission or vision; • Resolve key strategic or policy issues as they relate to your MCP program; • Develop the financial resources needed to support MCP strategies; • Provide expertise or access to policymakers; • Build the reputation of your MCP program with key stakeholders; • Oversee MCP financial performance; • Ensure adequate risk management for your MCP program; • Assess your MCP program’s performance with regard to its priorities; and • Improve board performance. SOURCE: DR. SUSAN G. WEINBERGER, PRESIDENT MENTOR CONSULTING GROUP INC.

4 Best Practice: Ensure Structure . . . Set up clear expectations:
Term Limits (i.e. 2 year terms, 2 term max) Minimum contribution (i.e. give/get policy) Best Practice: Establish a 100% Board participation policy. Define the Boards Roles and Responsibilities In general, a board will have the following primary areas of responsibility: Setting policy and approving practices for your mentoring program; Assuming legal responsibility for all the affairs of your organization, including incorporation, bylaws, liability and insurance; Serving as the fiduciary body for your organization, overseeing accounting, auditing, fundraising, budgeting, investing and financial procedures; Providing connections to potential funders and hands-on support to help your program raise funds; and Providing legal, financial and other expertise as needed.

5 Create a Job Description . . .
Clearly identify the skills, attributes and talents you need, then assess what your current board members have in order to reveal the skills you need . . . Now, what’s missing? Best Practice: Convene a Board Development Committee. Develop a Skills, Talents and Attributes Matrix What is a Skills, Talents and Attributes Matrix? It is a simple visual tool to aid in the management, control & monitoring of board member skill levels. It displays all tasks and skills required to meet your MCP grant deliverables and to support overall agency and program operations. It displays all current board members. For each current board member it displays current competency/ability levels for each task/skill set area. It is a simple tool to aid board development.

6 Develop a Recruitment Strategy
Locate and utilize: Mission driven volunteers and donors. Community and business leaders. Nonprofit match makers. The potential in your present board. Best Practice: Board provides comprehensive information to candidates ahead of time. In recruiting individuals to serve on your board, look for people who reflect the diversity of your community and who are committed to your MCP program’s mission. In addition, look for individuals who represent the “three Ws” so important to sustaining an MCP program: work, wisdom and/or wealth Seek out parents, mentors, youth, community members, proven volunteers, educators, clergy, doctors, foundation representatives, corporate leaders, financial experts and philanthropists. All prospective board members should be willing and able to provide personal support to your program at the level most appropriate for them. Their strong commitment is important because prospective funders will ask if your board members support the mentoring program.

7 Provide Orientations . . . Once elected, acquaint new board members with: Other board members, board culture, and governing rules Staff responsibilities and accomplishments The organization’s programs, sites, and budget. Best Practice: Orient new board members with a Board Manual and a Board Mentor. Board orientation is the process of educating board members about their roles, responsibilities, the organization, and how the board works. A thorough orientation gets a new board member engaged quickly and off to a running start. The agency director may conduct the orientation or it may be performed by a longstanding board member.  Either way, it may be beneficial to include a longstanding board member who is willing to be responsive to the new board member’s questions on an ongoing basis. The agency director and/or designated board member should have personal contact with the new board member at least twice. First, to identify himself/herself as the person responsible for orienting the new board member and second, after the appointee has a chance to go over the orientation materials, to respond to questions. It is often a nice gesture for a designated board member to accompany the new one to the first board meeting.  The board member can make sure he/she meets all the other board members and staff, and should sit next to him/her to provide low key insights as needed during the meeting. Recommended board member orientation handbook: Letter of welcome Board of directors information (Logistical details of the next board meeting; Schedule of board meetings; Board of directors roster; Board of directors expectations and meeting practices; Conflict of interest policy and disclosure form) Background on current issues before the board (Minutes for the last several board meetings; Agenda and supporting documentation for the most recent board meeting General Information about the organization (Articles of incorporation; Bylaws; Mission statement ; Summary of MCP program; Most recent annual report; Summary of insurance coverage; Last completed audit ; Last completed IRS Form 990; Approved operational budget for the current year)

8 Utilize their Expertise . . .
Make productive use of board members time (Ex: Consent agenda). Provide detailed reports ahead of time Use a committee structure to do work outside the meetings. Best Practice: Send all committee minutes and reports out at least1 week ahead of Board meeting. Facilitate Board Meetings to Improve MCP Programming and Management Structure your meetings to capitalize on the skills, expertise and resources of your board and to address specific MCP program needs and to assess effectiveness in meeting your stated/approved MCP goals and in supporting the implementation of quality services to matches and family members. Board meeting activities could include: Review of MCP Statement of Purpose. Discussion of long range plans for the MCP program . Effective board Involvement in the MCP program. Qualified staff/partners for the MCP program. Providing MCP staff training opportunities. Ensuring an appropriate work environment for MCP staff. MCP Evaluation plan . Monitoring/Adjusting MCP program goals. PR/PE plan for the MCP program. MCP program procedural manual. MCP Staff evaluations. Funded MCP grant proposal compliance.

9 Provide Resources . . . Ensure Board members have access to relevant information that they understand. Offer board members opportunities for growth (i.e. trainings, networking, etc). Best Practice: Ensure program and financial reporting is meaningful to the board. Studies have shown that boards work best, and enable MCP program leaders to accomplish the most, when they focus on the following three primary roles: Approving the MCP program’s strategy or business plan: MCP leaders should take the lead and work with their boards as partners in the process of setting strategy—preferably through a multi-year plan that has clear benchmarks for success. This plan should be approved by the board, leaving the program leader in charge of implementation. All future decisions about whether the plan is working and what to change should be supported by the data on which the strategy or plan was based, or on relevant data collected since the development of the plan. Evaluating the performance of the MCP program leader based on pre-established benchmarks: All boards should provide a yearly evaluation of the MCP program leader, based on performance benchmarks developed by the board and the leader together. These benchmarks may also be reviewed informally on a quarterly basis to measure progress and alert the leader if he or she is falling short. Overseeing the fiscal responsibility of the MCP program: MCP program leaders and their boards should agree on an overall budget that is based on the funded MCP program and the costs required to execute that program. The board should review the actual financials against the budget on a quarterly basis. This leaves room for MCP program leaders to make day-to-day decisions about spending without needing to devote time and energy to getting board approval. In addition, it saves board members’ time – providing them with an opportunity to execute their fiduciary responsibility with minimal day-to-day involvement. Clearly defining the board’s primary roles and the information that will inform board-room discussions will help to establish optimal partnerships between MCP program leaders and their boards, while enabling efficient and effective decision-making. Such partnerships will also empower MCP program leaders to apply their passion and expertise to doing what they do best: acting on opportunities, executing new ideas, and, ultimately, building enduring solutions to meet their stated MCP goals.

10 Interactive Exercise . . As it relates to your Board . . .
What do you need . . . What do you have . . . What do you need to get . . . How will you get them . . . Developing a Board Skills, Attributes and Talents Matrix

11 Board Development Resources
Board Source Foundation Center cal/boards.html

12 THE END !!! Shaping Your Board to Support Your MCP Program
Jerry Dash, President/CEO Volunteers in Prevention, Probation and Prisons, Inc. (VIP Mentoring), Detroit, Michigan MCP Support Center Advisory Board Member MCP Peer Monitoring Reviewer


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