Helping Board Focus in 2024

Where Boards Should Put Their Focus in 2024 by Mark Athitakis of Association Now is a must-read for association pros and association volunteers.  As I read it, I thought immediately of a number of actions many associations could take. Here are the key points from the article and my recommendations for getting it done.

Getting smarter about technology is a big piece of it: The [NACD 2024 Governance Outlook] report found that concerns about AI and cybersecurity are paramount and that boards are still working through its challenges.

Recommendation: Here’s a place for bringing in outside support, maybe a volunteer thought leader on the board, and investing in staff skills. Beth Z, your nerdy best friend, has tools that can be useful on AI – or just hire her to lead a board conversation. Another cool resource comes from WBT in 11 Predictions.

Board diversity remains a challenge: The NACD report includes a section spotlighting the dearth of Latino directors, and the lack of proactive diverse board recruiting efforts in general.

Recommendation: 2024 is the time to get a hold of the 2023 Holistic Approach to Volunteer Management and dive into a re-shaping of your volunteer system. To keep the conversation going, add a volunteer thought leader to your board. Or ask one of the thoughtful members of the Association Latinos for thoughts on moving forward. Maybe even bring in one to facilitate a conversation with your board.

How can boards have a meaningful talent conversation? It can start by exploring the ways work has transformed and whether the current org chart acknowledges it . . . Those are important questions for association boards to discuss when it comes to their staff’s workforce. But they’re essential for the association’s volunteer corps, and the board itself.

Recommendation: Yes, we need to invest in staff and in the other 25% of our workforce aka our volunteers. So I’ll repeat: get a hold of the 2023 Holistic Approach to Volunteer Management and dive into a re-shaping of your volunteer system. And as a key part, invest in staff training around working with volunteers.

I’ll end with a note – Mariner had the project lead on the 2023 Holistic Volunteer Management report as we were for the 2017 precursor research and the SME for the ASAE ForesightWorks Volunteer Driver. Talk to us about how your association can strengthen your volunteer systems from structure to volunteers to the staff.