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Ten Tips for Community Leaders

Ten Tips for Community Leaders

By Maher Budeir

Founder and Trainer of Balanced Leadership Institute

  1. Fix your foundation: Do you have written bylaws/constitution? Are your policies written down and do all Board members know where to find them? Does the community have access to the documents? Does your Board have insurance?
  2. Get your finances in order: Do you have the right financial skills on your Board? Do you have a budget; is it tracked monthly? Do you have segregation of financial duties and a written cash management policy? When was the last time you had an external review of your finances?
  3. Represent the community: Does your Board look like the community? Are the Board members elected by the community? What stipulations do you have limiting who can serve on the Board? Is there a process for removing Board members and/or dissolving the Board?
  4. Run your Board meetings effectively: Is the agenda distributed in advance and is the method for adding/removing items fair and consistent? Does the Board follow written procedures (Roberts Rules of Order) and do all Board members have an equal voice? Do you have clear owners and due dates for decisions made and do you have a method for tracking to ensure action items get done?
  5. Be transparent: Are the Board meetings open to all community members? Is the community invited and do they know when/where the meetings are held? Are agenda items/minutes published online for members to review? Are the finances (budget, monthly finances) published online for members to review?
  6. Communicate openly: Do you have a regular newsletter and calendar of events? Do you have regular town hall or general body meetings? Does everyone have access to the bylaws/constitution, policies, Board meeting minutes, budget and monthly finance reports? Do you use social media to draw attention to these documents when they are updated or changed?
  7. Be open to new/recycled ideas: do members know how to start new projects and have the freedom to do so? Is the leadership role more of an enabler vs. a barrier? Is the typical response “we tried that before and it didn’t work” vs. “let’s see how we can make it work.”
  8. Be active: How often do your Board members go the masjid? Do most attend events and prayers? Do your Board members serve on one or more committees? Does leadership bring new ideas and advocate for the community segments they represent? Do the community know who is on the Board?
  9. Plan for the future: Do you have a 5-10 year strategic plan (and do you use it)? Are you deliberately building leaders for the future? Do you have a plan for moving beyond the “donation” funding mode?
  10. Reject mediocrity: Improve the khutbahs, start on time, clean the bathrooms and fix the sound system.

Additional Resources:

  • Join the movement to build Prophetic communities:
  • Books on nonprofit leadership: You and Your Nonprofit Board by Terrie Temkin
  • Must read: Leadership: An Islamic Perspective by Rafik Beekun and Jamal Badawi
  • Practical help for using Roberts Rules of Order:

One Comment

  1. Does any masjid have policies that they are willing to share?
    Right now we’re working on security- not only external threats but also threats (overt/covert) from our own members with mental illness, uncontrolled tempers, domestic violence, sex offenders, reports of offenses on or off campus, members charged with felonies – during the trial and also after the trial if they are not convicted. JAK!!

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