Here is a guide on how to recruit and engage new members. These tips were accumulated from colleagues, nonprofit consulting agencies and market research. Let the recruiting begin!
Determine what skills, qualities, diversity, and community representation is needed for a strong board.
Create and regularly update a rubric that tracks all of these items against current members' terms, and identity areas of future need. This tool should look forward at least three years.
Invite board members and staff leadership to identify potential board candidates.
Nominations can be submitted through a document asking questions about leadership qualities, passions, experience and future goals.
Meet and get to know potential a board member through a personal interview. Even better, include him/her in an organizational committee, volunteer activity, or other event (perhaps allow them to sit in on a board meeting?)
Give the candidate a document explaining the responsibility of the Board as a whole, read this article by The Bridgespan Group.
Then another document that clearly outlines the responsibility required of the individual board member.
Once recruited, and before inducted, begin orientation. This can be done a number of ways - providing materials such as a board manual (binder), adding the new member to your board management platform, matching each new person with a mentor from the current board, inviting to organizational event, etc.
Provide a formal orientation after induction.
A formal orientation program is critical. Whether it’s a two-hour session or a two-day session, providing an overview of the organization’s history, evolution, philosophies, staffing, finances, etc is key.
This is also a time to review the responsibilities of board members vs. staff. This sets a critical foundation for governance best practice and allows new board members to jump into meetings with a stronger knowledge base.
Here is a new board orientation checklist created by BoardSource to be sure you have a successful transition.
Create a task for new members to accomplish as a team. This will help them bond with each other, and become engaged early in their tenure.
Do you or your organizations have any other tips or suggestions on best practices with Board recruitment? If you would like to see a demo of how Boardable can facilitate many of these steps, schedule one today!