Since I am the board development chair of a nonprofit and we are beginning the board recruitment/nomination process for our elections in December I have been thinking about this subject. As usual we have the people who are completing their terms and the people who have not been active at all to replace. Our by-laws also have flexibility in size allowed so we could even add more people if we wanted to. But where to begin?
We do have detailed board job descriptions and have hosted a successful board recruitment event. Subsequently, I wrote an article about Hosting a Board Recruitment Event for my newsletter and it was published in Charity Channel's Nonprofit Boards and Governance Review (see the link below).
Here are our issues right now - the same as most other nonprofits. We are stepping up the fundraising by Board members so need people who are willing and able to be involved in fundraising. We expect all Board members to be active on committees. We would like to have some people who could open corporate doors for us. Yes, it is a tall order. Here's the game plan right now.
The most important credential for a Board memeber to have is a passion for our mission. We all have too many tugs at our time and resources and if you are not near the top of an individual's list you probabaly won't be satisfied with the person as a Board member. This is the most important thing for the board recruiting team to remember.
Our first step is to provide Board members with a detailed job description and actively solicit recommendations from them. This should be done one on one, especially with people with certain skills that we must have - finance and law. These Board members have colleagues that they can recommend but may not pursue recruiting them without a specific request to do so.
We have some large corporate sponsors and we will be asking our contacts there to identify a potential board member for us. But first, we will try to identify particular skills we would like to have such as marketing or technology.
We will plan tours and invite potential Board members to our events especially those that involve the inner city children we serve.
We will definitely have a Board Recruitment Event which will have social and information components.
We have a desire to have more diversity on our Board and that will cause us to recruit in some places that we have not in the past.
Although we want people to be involved in fundraising and to make a personal financial commitment we realize that this is something that is learned and grows over time. So our initial expection will be an "entry level" of involvment that we will cultivate.
Board recruitment should start with your needs/desire assessment. Next is targeted marketing to attract appropriate candidates. Be honest about what your expectations are rather than complain later about what you get. When all is said and done we hope to identify board members who are committed to our mission and will go the extra mile for us.
Host a Board Recruitment Event Article Fall 2006 Newsletter
Marion Conway Consulting