How to Use Advisory Councils to Grow Your Credibility and Capacity


Brooke Richie-Babbage, nonprofit consultant, discusses leveraging advisory councils for credibility and capacity growth.

Have you ever had people in your network who are excited about your mission and work, but who don’t totally fit on your board? Enter: the Advisory Council. A well designed and executed advisory board can provide a unique blend of expertise, experience, and expanded networks — without the formalities of governance. In this episode, I delve into how to design, structure and implement an effective advisory council to bolster your credibility, offer invaluable advice, and act as ambassadors for your cause.

Here’s what you’ll learn by tuning in:

  • The Role and Value of Advisory Boards: Understand how an advisory board differs from your board of directors and its unique value in driving your nonprofit forward.
  • Crafting Your Advisory Board: Learn how to identify the purpose of your advisory board, select members, and set clear expectations to ensure alignment and impact.
  • Maximizing the Impact: Strategies for effectively managing your advisory board to foster engagement, leverage their expertise, and achieve your strategic goals.

Key Takeaways:

  • Advisory boards are not governance bodies; they’re strategic allies.
  • Select members for their expertise, networks, and passion for your mission.
  • Establish clear goals and expectations to guide your advisory board’s focus and activities.
  • Regular communication and engagement are crucial for maintaining an effective advisory council.
  • Consider multiple, focused advisory boards for different strategic areas rather than one with a broad, undefined purpose.

Step-by-Step Guide to Forming and Managing an Advisory Council:

  1. Identify the Purpose: Define the specific strategic reasons for forming the council.
  2. Select Members: Choose individuals whose expertise and networks align with your council’s purpose.
  3. Communicate Expectations: Clearly articulate the council’s goals, member responsibilities, and meeting cadence.
  4. Engage Regularly: Maintain ongoing communication and involve council members in meaningful activities.

Resources Mentioned:

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