Offboarding departing staff is a best practice for any organization. After all, your former employees may be some of your best referral sources and brand ambassadors. When it comes to board members, offboarding takes on a unique and valuable role. Because of term limits (to keep leadership fresh, to aid in recruitment, and to help with fundraising), retiring board members play a vital role in succession planning.
Learn several best practices for conducting exit interviews with board members and how to choose gifts that express gratitude for their service.

Succession-planning tips for nonprofit board members

When transitioning board members, consider these exit-interview best practices:

  1. Knowledge transfer and succession planning: Because board members usually serve limited terms, you may have advance notice when someone will be leaving. If so, be sure you use this time for knowledge transfer and succession planning. It’s likely your board members are willing and able to share knowledge with their successors. You can help in a number of ways. Interview departing members to tap their knowledge. Create opportunities for job shadowing or mini apprenticeships. Whenever possible, involve board members in the process of finding their replacements. Then create a packet to help them with their knowledge-sharing efforts—include a logo’d notebook with pen or USB for recording notes and a stress reliever —after all, knowledge download isn’t always easy!
  2. Future engagement planning: Now is the time to ask departing board members how they plan to stay involved with your organization. After all, they likely became involved with your cause because they believe in it. Find out the best way to stay in touch. And, if appropriate, ask if they’re interested in an advisory or emeritus position. For those who say yes, consider an exclusive board member gift, such as an etched personal espresso set or imprinted leather watch.
  3. Show your gratitude: Last, but certainly not least, is recognition for service—a departure gift for board members is a must! Thank these hard working volunteers for their service with a bouquet of flowers presented in a logo’d glass vase. An engraved clock/picture frame combo or an etched Starfire Glass award would also be a thoughtful gift.

During the offboarding process, tap board members’ wealth of knowledge, keep them involved in your organization, and thank them for their invaluable service.

 

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