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5 Strategies to Build a Championship Board

It's time for March Madness - the NCAA Tournament is in full swing.

Regardless of the team you are rooting for, there are some winning (and simple) strategies applied by coaches that nonprofit leaders can use to win.

Here are 5 universal strategies for winning as a nonprofit Board member and/or community leader.

  • Recruit the best players. Know what you need. Ask for what you need. The "fill the seat" strategy won't win games. Chances are you will need players with specific skills, specific attitudes/work ethics, and a shared hunger/passion for organization's purpose.

  • Create buy-in for winning strategies. Outline your "plan" for winning (a.k.a. strategic plan). Work with your team to develop/review the mission, key priorities, action plan, specific responsibilities and shared accountabilities. Create buy-in. Players on winning teams work the plan every day.

  • Capitalize on practices/meetings. On the court, practices are an opportunity for a coach to reinforce key points, works specific issues and builds strength. For the board president, meetings provide this same opportunity. Make sure all your players show up. When they do, meet them with a well-run, purpose-full, motivational meeting. Remind them WHY you are all there.

  • Build for the future - create a "playbook" that ensures long-term excellence. College basketball team and board members "graduate." This strategic turnover keeps the game fresh and makes orientation, training and documentation critical. At the very least, your playbook should include a strategic plan, budget, contact information, committee descriptions, individual commitment/goals and a set calendar for the year. Take responsibility for clear transition to ensure the long-term growth of your organization.

  • Lead with high expectations. Know what you expect. Clearly communicate your expectations in a way that motivates and inspires. Reinforce "small wins" (committee successes, 100% attendance, etc.). Offer reinforcement, coaching and correction when needed. Think of yourself as a coach leading a team to a championship win. Remember that even high expectations can be fun to meet.

With these principles in mind, you will put the right people and structures in place to ensure a championship win.

You got this! Coach your team to success!

© Kathy Sturgis, Ph.D. Kathy is founder of Refreshment Zone and is an organizational and personal development specialist with a doctorate in communication. Contact for more information on motivational programs.

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