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A Pledge for the New Year


by Steve Yoder, Community Development Regional Educator, Purdue Extension 


A standard best practice in recruiting members to any community board is to provide them with a written role description to give them a good understanding of what that volunteer position will entail. Topics covered in the description usually range from developing policies to evaluating the Executive Director annually.

A related best practice is to also provide recruits with a copy of a board member pledge form. Also known as a board agreement or covenant, this document takes the role description one step further by outlining shared expectations of how all members will engage with one another as they conduct the group’s work.

Unlike a traditional role description, which focuses on what a board member does, a pledge focuses more on the level of commitment expected of board members. Topics in a pledge usually include expected levels of giving, attendance in meetings, participation in committees, and assurances of confidentiality.

Some boards require members to sign a pledge form each year as a reminder of the level of commitment they have agreed to provide. Other boards simply include a copy of the pledge in the new board member orientation packet to set the tone for board service. However your organization prefers to use it if you don’t have one already, consider developing a board member pledge for the new year to remind your volunteers of the value and importance of their work.

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