Nominating Chairs complain that the competition is tough; there are too many nonprofits and not enough Rock Star board members. Yet Boards function as a team, and we all know Rock Stars may not make the best teammate.
When identifying new Board members – just as with sports teams – you want to recruit the skills and disposition essential to your organization’s success.
Think strategically. What does the organization need to successfully advance over the next 3 to 5 years? Are you facing a major IT upgrade, seeking to create a young professionals group or looking to introduce a new program in the next few years? What skillsets must you recruit to the Board now to help you reach those objectives?
Prepare a written job description. Create a formal volunteer job description outlining the model candidate for the role, then share your posting widely. If done well the board posting is an opportunity to share the organization with movers and shakers in the community, whether they ultimately become a Board member or not.
Cultivate prospects. What are you doing to become the Board of Choice in your community? What makes your Board stand out above the rest? Are Board members’ time, skills, and resources being used effectively? What opportunities for networking, development and recognition are provided for the Board? Are expectations of Board members clearly articulated and enforced? Just one non-participating, uninvolved Board member will lower the morale of the entire team.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to Board recruitment. The best Boards are a perfect blend of expertise, experience and connections. Each organization must first evaluate its own unique needs and priorities, and build its team accordingly.