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Look here for infomation and the latest techniques to develop your board or committee. The purpose is to help those who work or serve on nonprofit boards of directors or committees.
~October 2001~
  • Recruiting Board Members

There is grief throughout the world for those lost and injured by terrorist attacks. But, there are also thanks for outpourings of love, condolence, sympathy, and encouragement from family, friends and neighbors from Sri Lanka to Sydney to Sacramento, and Sweden.

"Now let us thank the Eternal Power: convinced
That Heaven but tries our virtue by affliction.
That oft the cloud which wraps the present hour
Serves but to brighten all our future days."
John Brown 1715-1766

Recruiting Board Members

Most boards have a nominating committee. But too often the nominating committee isn't called into action until two months before the annual meeting when someone says, "oh, we need to find some new board members". Then the committee meets and begins to talk about the people they know whom they think are good people and they believe would be good board members. Unfortunately, they may end up with "good people" but not with a group that has the broad and balanced perspective the organization needs to move it forward.

A far better process is for the nominating committee, which you might prefer to call a "board development" committee, to spend some time, at least eight months, before the annual meeting analyzing the current board; the skills, representation and talents those members have and what new talents, skills and representation might be needed in the future based on the priority goals of the organization. As they consider the following questions, they should think about whom is currently on the board and who will be rotating off. That way, they can develop profiles for the new board members they need to target and recruit.

Then the committee can report its recommendations on needs to the board. The board members can then be asked to submit names of prospective candidates to the nominating committee based on these specific, articulated needs.

Those names can be reviewed by the nominating committee, which can determine priorities and decide who on the board or nominating committee would be the best person to contact each one and discuss board membership. Remember that it isn't necessary to offer someone a board position right away. It is best to say something to the effect that "I serve on this very interesting board, and I wonder if it might be a board that would interest you." The conversation is exploratory so that neither the prospect nor the recruiter has made a firm commitment. This way, a good prospect that may not be asked to join the board this year can go on a list to be considered the following year.

See Board and Committees, January 2001, located in Archives for more thoughts on recruitment.

Another good source on boards is http://www.boardcafe.org.

Jeanne H. Bradner

Jeanne H. Bradner is an author, consultant, trainer and speaker on volunteerism, board development and leadership. She is the author of three publications, Passionate Volunteerism, The Board Member's Guide, A Beneficial Bestiary and Leading Volunteers for Results: Building Communities Today. She served as director of the Illinois Governor's Office of Voluntary Action, Midwest Regional Director of ACTION, and Executive Director of the Illinois Commission on Community Service. She is the volunteer program specialist for Illinois' Harper College Volunteer Management curriculum.

Send your comments and questions to Jeannebrad@aol.com.

Copyright 2001 by Nancy Macduff.
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