Each member of your Board of Directors has accepted crucial responsibilities for the welfare of your agency, and needs training of the highest possible quality to carry out those responsibilities. The Office of Crime Victims Advocacy (OCVA) Accreditation Standards state:
Each member of the governing board or advisory committee for a sexual assault program must have orientation and training specific to their role.
The suggestions below are relevant to all sexual assault agency Boards, whether the agency is an OCVA accredited Community Sexual Assault Program or not.
A clear agenda for orientation, including all of the required topics specified in Accreditation Standard AGA3, should be developed and adhered to. Each Board member's participation in orientation and receipt of a Board Manual will be documented. One of the most useful topics for Board orientation is an engaging discussion or demonstration of Board vs. Staff roles and responsibilities — which is also a great "refresher" topic for members who have been on the Board for a while. In addition, there should be an annual plan for Board training. A healthy, well-functioning Board needs ongoing development to remain vital. Remember that dull, dry Board trainings are unlikely to result in high attendance or enthusiasm. The more you learn and prepare, the better the chances that you will be able to get "buy-in" from Board members.
- Orientation and Training of Board Members - explains how to time your delivery of orientation information for maximum benefit
- Governance and Board Development - Dalhousie University's excellent online articles about many aspects of Board development
- Ongoing Board Education: Ensuring Board Members Have the Knowledge They Need - this frank article discusses the difficulties of getting Board members to engage in ongoing education, and offers a wealth of specific strategies aimed at developing a Board that is "eager, excited, [and] energized to learn to be incredible."