Just Do 1 Thing a Month!

By John Pearson

In the hallway, board members often grimace and admit to me, “I don’t think I’m doing enough as a board member—but I’m not sure how I can be of more help. I don’t want to micro-manage, or assume a staff position. I just wish there was more clarity about the expectations of my role on the board—in between meetings.”

Good news! A board member recently shared a brilliant solution to this dilemma.

I was consulting with a ministry board at their annual weekend retreat, and a new board member made a presentation based on his expertise in his day job—he’s the senior vice president of advancement for a major state university. In addition to sharing the latest trends in giving, what motivates givers, and how to grow giving, he shared this insight with his new board colleagues:

Every month, he said, he contacts the institution's board of directors and reminds them:

“Just do one thing a month for our university!”

University board members have the grocery list of ways they can inspire, influence and impact other people for the university’s important mission.

Your ministry’s list of “Just Do 1 Thing” will be unique to your cause—but it might include these ideas:

Just Do 1 Thing a Month: The List
[ ] Set up a lunch meeting with a prospective giver and the CEO.
[ ] Invite a colleague to a ministry event.
[ ] Open a door at a family foundation.
[ ] Host a prayer gathering for our ministry.
[ ] Pray and then send a sacrificial gift.
[ ] Call current major givers to say thanks for their faithfulness.
[ ] Other: ___________________________________
[ ] _________________________________________

Imagine the clarity and confidence you’ll create when your board members know that if they do just one thing a month for your ministry—on the development side—they will have a sense of “I’m being faithful.”

And speaking of clarity, be sure that you distinguish between the board member’s three hats (Governance, Volunteer, Participant) when establishing “Just Do 1 Thing a Month” expectations. (For help, order the
ECFA Governance Toolbox Series No. 2: Balancing Board Roles.)

Matthew 25:23 reads, “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’” (NLT)

QUESTION: Are your expectations for board members crystal clear—so everyone knows when to celebrate a board member’s faithfulness?


This article was originally posted on the “Governance of Christ-Centered Organizations” blog, hosted by ECFA.
John Pearson, a board governance consultant and author, was ECFA’s governance blogger from 2011 to 2020.
© 2021, ECFA and John Pearson. All rights reserved.


This text is provided with the understanding that ECFA is not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from an accountant, lawyer, or other professional.