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They are volunteers, too!
Look here for information 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.

~ November 2006 ~ Topic

Recruiting New Board Members

"Wouldn't you like to come on our board? It's a nice group of people; we only meet every other month; and staff does all the work."

What a terrible way to attract new board members! And yet this is often the way it's approached.

In the first place, it's not very flattering and probably not honest. It assumes prospects don't want to work and that board membership is purely a social relationship. In the second place, it implies that staff runs the organization, and the board is just there to rubberstamp. And, in the third place and, most important, it doesn't result in a strong board.

If we really want to develop a strong board, we need to:

  • Think through what we need in order to have a balanced and diverse board that will enhance the organization's outreach and ability to fulfill its mission.
  • Know what skills we already have on the board and what additional skills are needed (financial, human resources, fund raising, etc.).
  • Decide what influences, ideally, new board members might have that would be most helpful (ethnic, age, government, media, etc.).

Then we need to find and contact people who fit these profiles and tell them what the organization does, what the dreams for the future are and why they in particular are needed. That's flattering and that's honest.

Other good sources for information on nonprofits, boards and committees:

Jeanne Bradner can be reached at Jeannebrad@aol.com.

See our online bookstore for Jeanne Bradner's book on boards: The Board Member’s Guide: A Beneficial Bestiary and Leading Volunteers for Results: Building Communities Today, and Passionate Volunteerism.
Passionate Volunteerism Book link to bookstoreLeading Volunteers Book Image Board Member's Guide Image

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, The Board Member's Guide, A Beneficial Bestiary and Leading Volunteers for Results: Building Communities Today and Passionate Volunteerism. 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.

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