Every board is composed of unique members. Some may be resistant to change, while others are ready to take exciting risks. One member might be very analytical and has to see the numbers, while another is only swayed by heartfelt stories.
Regardless of who is on your board right now, you CAN successfully cast your vision and accomplish it together.
This vision could be anything: going medical, adding another location, or choosing to put more funds into marketing. Be encouraged. If your vision is in alignment with your center’s mission statement, you can get your board on board.
Why Is Having a Vision Important?
If you’re not moving forward, you’re likely moving backwards. Have a future vision in mind to improve and elevate your pregnancy center. Without a vision, your center could become stale and stagnant. Remember, complacency is not a strategy.
Therefore, you should always move toward something better. To reach more women and save more lives, you must have a vision, and be willing to innovate.
After you craft your vision and think through where you see your pregnancy center headed in five, ten, and fifteen years, begin creating the strategy behind how you will get there. Once you have this ready to go, it’s time to prepare to cast your vision to your board.
Here Are Best Practices to Successfully Cast Your Vision to Your Board
1. Know Your Board
Boards are a mixture of personalities. The members have a variety of skill sets and backgrounds, but are united by a passion for your pregnancy center’s vision. They want to see your center thrive, serve women, save lives, and change your local community.
However, there’s a catch… they might disagree about the best way to make this happen, and they might disagree with you too. It can be challenging!
One way to prepare for pushback is to get to know each one’s personality, nuances, and the reason behind their passion for your ministry. This will help you build a communication strategy. You can prepare with numbers for your analytical members and heartfelt stories for your more emotional ones. If you know them well, you can predict how they may respond to your ideas. This will help you feel more at ease too.
2. Filter Everything Through Your Mission Statement
Your center’s mission statement is a crucial tool for presenting any idea to your board. It’s your common ground and what everyone agrees upon. If you can take your strategy and vision for this new initiative or plan and filter it through your mission statement, you are making a strong case to your board.
However, you must be clear throughout your presentation. Restate your mission and how your vision is in alignment. Make sure all board members see the connection.
This is also a great check for yourself, because executive directors aren’t perfect either. Ask yourself, “Am I on mission?” and “Can I defend my position based on my mission?” and “Have I prayerfully sought the Lord in this to make sure it’s from Him?”
If you answer “yes” to these questions, then pitching your vision is an excellent idea. If you find yourself facing mission drift, this is a chance to get back on mission as well.
3. Build Trust With Board Members
In addition to knowing your board, they will need to learn to trust you. This is especially true when you are a new center director. If you haven’t had many wins yet, or you’ve experienced a few losses, focus on building trust through transparency or small steps.
It’s okay to admit you’re not perfect and don’t have all the answers. Once you admit this truth, you can reassert your commitment and ability to put in the work to find the answers. Board members will respect this transparency and perhaps extend more grace to you.
Complete transparency can build trust. This means admitting the losses, explaining what went wrong, and how you’ll avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
Likeability does play a role in trust. By building relationships with your board members and making efforts to get to know them and appreciate their unique perspectives and roles in your mission, you will build trust. If you have good relationships with them, they are more willing to trust you.
Think of the board members as partners in your mission instead of the resistance, and you are already headed in a positive direction.
If you’re having a hard time getting the board to trust you with larger decisions and initiatives, start small.
For example, instead of pushing hard for a rebrand, explain your interest in learning what clients think of your brand name due to your suspicion that it may not resonate as well as it could. Then, tell them you will gather the information and present the results. If the results align with your original prediction, that is a small way to build trust and begin to open the door to a rebrand conversation. If it doesn’t go how you hoped, that’s okay because it fits with transparency.
If they’re concerned about the expense of launching a large marketing campaign, ask for permission to try it in stages. Start with an ad campaign and present the performance. If more women begin to schedule appointments, this is a huge win to share with your board. This can apply to any initiative you want to pitch.
4. Call on Subject Matter Experts
As we said earlier, it’s okay to not have all the answers, but it’s good to be willing to work to find them. Sometimes this requires calling on subject matter experts.
At Choose Life Marketing, we have been asked to help provide support when presenting marketing initiatives to the board. We can provide background on how marketing works, why it works, and the results we’ve seen with other centers.
If the vision you’re casting isn’t about marketing, you can also ask other center directors and centers to help you, and reference best practices from national organizations like Heartbeat, Care Net, or NIFLA. All of these organizations care about your mission as you serve women and save lives. If your board could use an extra voice, reach out and see if experts are willing to step in and help provide perspective.
Make sure to continue building your network. Having a strong network of other centers who have gone through the same things you have will help you cast your similar vision successfully.
5. Team Problem Solve
Board members want to be a part of the solution. If you identified a problem or need at your center, explain the situation to your board. Tell them the story and how you arrived at the problem. Explain why you need to come up with a solution and welcome their thoughts. Listen to what they say, and be open to their opinions and ideas.
Once you have finished this stage, present some of the solutions you considered. Walk them through each one and the pros and cons. They will appreciate playing a role in the search for solutions instead of gatekeepers to one person’s ideas. They may even bring up some thought-provoking ideas and share wisdom you didn’t think of before.
If your solution in mind passes the team problem solving test, and your board members arrive at the same conclusion as you did, you have a better chance of gaining buy-in and solving the problem together. Alternatively, you may end in a better place than where you began with fresh ideas.
6. Don’t Give Up
Let us encourage you right now.
If you have been facing rejection from your board and you can’t seem to find a breakthrough, don’t give up. It can take multiple times approaching your board. If you feel like this is what the vision needs to be, and you are confident, pray about it and work towards it. Don’t give up. Be persistent in prayer and continue to communicate with your board. At the end of the day, it’s about what’s best for the women, babies, and community you serve.
Choose Life Marketing is here to support you in your mission. If you need help presenting your marketing campaigns and vision to your board and need stats, stories, or an expert’s voice, we can help. Reach out to us for more details.