Just Do One Thing a Month

Make a specific ask of each board member each month.


by Dan Busby and John Pearson


When we clarified the opportunities for board member participation between board meetings, we celebrated the highest board member engagement we had ever experienced.

One Happy Board Chair


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 micromanage 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—thus his nomination to the Board Member Hall of Fame!

I was consulting with a ministry board at its annual weekend retreat. 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 contacts the institution’s board of directors and reminds them:

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

This innovative leader provided the board members with a 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 One Thing” will be unique to your cause, but it might include these ideas:

Just Do One Thing a Month:

  • Set up a lunch meeting with a prospective giver and your CEO.
  • Invite a colleague to a ministry event.
  • Open a door at a family foundation.
  • Host a prayer gathering for the ministry.
  • Pray, 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, they will have a sense of “I’m being faithful.”

And speaking of clarity, be sure to distinguish between the board member’s three hats (Governance, Volunteer, Participant) when establishing “Just Do One Thing a Month” expectations.

To enlighten your board regarding the three hats, view the short video in the ECFA Governance Toolbox Series No. 2: Balancing Board Roles.[1]

For your ministry, perhaps the communication comes from the CEO, and the opportunities for the month include a broader range of topics, including a specific prayer list.

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)



Board members should be appropriately involved with your ministry.
Providing specific opportunities for engagement each month
is a key to meaningful involvement.

  Board Action Steps:

  1. Create: Develop your grocery list of “Just Do One Thing a Month” ideas for the ministry.

  2. Communicate: Call or email the board members individually each month and ask, “Have you done your ‘One Thing’ this month?”

  3. Celebrate: At each board meeting, highlight what has been achieved through the “One Thing” initiative and celebrate God’s blessings on the ministry.



Lord, we ask Your blessing on this One Thing a Month opportunity—
not as a gimmick, but as a Kingdom initiative that will challenge
our board members to meaningful involvement. Amen.





[1] ECFA Governance Toolbox Series No. 2: Balancing Board Roles—Understanding the 3 Board Hats: Governance, Volunteer, Participant (Winchester, VA: ECFAPress, 2013). Visit: www.ecfa.org/Toolbox.


From More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom: Effectiveness, Excellence, Elephants!, 2019, www.ECFA.org/KnowledgeCenter.


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.