Organizations with a corporate governing board (whether a nonprofit’s board of directors or a for-profit’s board of advisors/trustees), should be sure to actively include this group in the run-up to national accreditation. Having a leadership team embrace the importance of accreditation will not guarantee a successful outcome, but if leadership does not support accreditation, then you are guaranteed to have problems. This correlation extends to board members.
One should present the benefits of accreditation and discuss the board’s role in this process early on in order to both gain the necessary buy-in from the board and have the resources (financial and personnel) earmarked for accreditation. Prior to the initial meeting with the board, it is helpful to follow these steps:
- Conduct an assessment of what you think board members may object to and craft responses prior to engaging them
- Create your “elevator speech” about the key benefits of accreditation
- Be honest about the challenges of the accreditation process, but optimistic about what it will bring
- Attempt to quantify the benefits in dollars and time-savings, as well as in reduced risk and a new focus on quality improvement
Board members (and staff) involved in the accreditation process will have a hand in improving and influencing the future of the organization. The board should understand that they will be directly involved in the accreditation process in a number of ways:
- Approval of new or updated policies
- Annual budget approval
- Strategic planning
- Succession planning
- Conducting an annual risk assessment
Further, some board members may be interviewed by the accreditation review team in order to ascertain governance responsibilities and oversight. It is suggested to conduct mock interviews to fine-tune answers and reduce anxiety that some may feel.
We wish you all the best in proactively working with your board and to getting them on board for accreditation!