Additional recommendations based on what FOAL has found helpful to our success:
Establish a regular date and length of time for Board meetings and stick to it. FOAL normally has one Board meeting per month, which is kept to one and one-half hours. The agenda is set prior to each meeting and we correspond often during the month, mostly by e-mail.
The minutes of previous meetings, treasurer’s and director’s reports are sent out for review prior to each meeting and approved collectively on the consent agenda early in each meeting, conserving meeting time.
It took some time and work for FOAL to get to the point where an effective Executive Director (ED) could be found and hired. Board consensus was reached on a job description/profile for the ED position. As has proven true for FOAL, an effective ED can be a tremendous asset.
Establish an annual budget that reflects organizational goals, and track income and expenses to the budget. Not only is this extremely helpful feedback, it is information often required for grant applications.
Track volunteer hours, especially those donated by Board members. This is important when making applications for grants.
Procure a facilitator to lead regular Board retreats. FOAL has benefited from several retreats, most of which have been held to 5 or 6 hours, including a scheduled meal.