The Art of Engaging Your Association Board: 7 Top Strategies for Success

Board Table Discussion

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Rachel Hight Cropped Photo

Rachel Hight


The Board of Directors plays a critical role in guiding an association towards its mission and goals. Board members bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and expertise to the table, and engaging them effectively is essential for effective association management. However, keeping a board engaged can sometimes be challenging, especially with the demands and responsibilities they have outside of their board duties.

In this blog post, we will explore seven strategies for successfully engaging your association board, so you can maximize their contributions and drive your organization toward success.

1 Clarify Roles and Expectations

Just like staff members, volunteer leaders need a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities within the association. They volunteered to lead, but they need to understand specifically where their talents and knowledge are most needed. Providing them with a comprehensive orientation that outlines their duties, expectations, and the overall governance structure of the organization is crucial. Make sure to communicate expectations clearly, and regularly review and update board members on their roles and responsibilities as needed. This will help them feel empowered and motivated to contribute effectively.

2 Foster Open Communication

Effective communication is key to engaging your board. Establish regular communication channels, such as board meetings, email updates, and online collaboration tools, to keep board members informed about the association’s activities, challenges, and achievements. Encourage open and transparent communication and create an environment where board members feel comfortable expressing their opinions, ideas, and concerns. Actively listen to their feedback and address their questions promptly to show that their input is valued and respected.

3 Provide Meaningful Opportunities for Involvement

Engage your board members by giving them meaningful opportunities to contribute to the association’s initiatives. Assign them specific programs or strategic initiatives that align with their skills and interests, and allow them to take ownership of their responsibilities. Provide the necessary resources and support to help them succeed in their roles. Recognize and celebrate their achievements to reinforce their engagement and motivation.

4 Offer Continuing Education and Development

Invest in the professional development of your board members by providing opportunities for training, education, and skill-building. Offer workshops, webinars, or other learning opportunities that are relevant to their roles and responsibilities. Encourage board and staff members to attend industry conferences, seminars, or other networking events to stay updated on the latest trends and best practices in association management. Supporting a culture of ongoing learning and development will help bring fresh ideas and perspectives to the association and keep everyone engaged.

5 Cultivate a Diverse and Inclusive Board

Embrace diversity and inclusivity in your board to foster engagement and innovation. Seek board members with diverse backgrounds, skills, and perspectives, and ensure that their voices are heard and respected. Create a welcoming and inclusive environment that values and appreciates diversity, and actively promote diversity and inclusivity in all aspects of association management. Embracing diversity and inclusivity will enrich the decision-making process, enhance creativity, and promote a sense of belonging among board members.

6 Recognize and Appreciate Board Members

Recognize and appreciate the hard work and dedication of your board members. Show the association’s gratitude by acknowledging their contributions publicly, expressing your appreciation in writing, and recognizing their efforts during board meetings. Celebrate their milestones and highlight their successes in association communications so that members are aware of the board’s important role (which provides the bonus of piquing the interest of potential future board members). Expressing gratitude and appreciation will boost board members’ morale and motivation, as well as encourage them to continue their active engagement.

7 Foster a Positive Board Culture

Cultivate a positive and inclusive board culture that promotes collaboration, respect, and mutual trust. Encourage healthy debates, value diverse perspectives, and ensure that all board members have an opportunity to contribute to discussions and decision-making. Set a positive tone at board meetings by creating agendas that encourage open discussion and provide ample time for board members to share their input. Foster a culture of accountability, where board members take ownership of their responsibilities.


These are tried-and-true strategies for boosting board engagement and keeping your leadership engaged over time. By implementing these good practices, as well as those are unique to your association culture, you can create a productive board environment where leaders feel their contributions are valued—and having a healthy board culture builds a lasting foundation for the great leaders of the future.

Rachel Hight Cropped Photo
Rachel Hight
Director of Business Solutions and Innovation

Degrees and Credentials:
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – University of Tennessee, Master of Business Administration – University of Kentucky, Lean Sigma Green Belt Certified

Association Management Professional Since:

What inspires you about your work?
I love to problem solve and figure things out, so what I am most excited for in this new position is getting to work on the business and make an impact on the day to day lives of the AMR team members. I am inspired by the creativity and passion throughout the AMR team and hope to get to use those great qualities to propel the business further.

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