Board Recruitment - Strategies

Steps for Board Recruiting

  • Job Description: Create a job description outlining the duties and responsibilities of board members.
  • Letter of Agreement: You can go even further with a letter of agreement with responsibilities for the board member to sign.1
  • Accountability: How are your board members held accountable in your organization?2 Do you have procedures in place to help you deal with an unacceptable board member action?
  • Bylaws: Organization bylaws should outline board terms, resignation requirements as well as board member removal.
  • General board member duties: Create a list of general duties for board members such as reviewing financials, organization 990 report, participating in committees and fundraising. And what are the time commitments expected?3
  • Financial Expectations: Will the board member assist with fundraising and/or be encouraged to make personal contributions to your organization?4
  • Role with Organization Financials: What is the board member’s role regarding finances for your nonprofit? Will they participate in only budget approval or some aspect of budget management? “Is the board responsible for the organization’s financial health”?5
  • What are the skills and experience level of your existing board members? Are there specific things that you’re missing that you need – i.e. legal, financial, communications, etc.?
  • It’s recommended to identify your greatest needs and attempt to recruit people who can fill those needs.6
  • Do you have any diversity needs – related to skills, age, gender or ethnicity?7
  • Where to Start: Begin with your immediate contacts for a board members search
    • Your board members
    • Dedicated volunteers
    • Key donors
    • Professionals in areas where you need expertise,
    • Community members of local organizations (churches, clubs, sports teams).
  • Board Experience: Don’t necessarily eliminate someone because they don’t have board experience. They may have skills or experience that are valuable for your organization and can receive training and mentoring regarding board functions.9
  • Approaching the Candidate: Make sure only designated board members actually “make the approach” to prospective board members.10
  • Network with other Nonprofits – Ask to sit in on their board meetings. Find out how they manage board recruiting. Perhaps share referrals.11
  • Family members – Remember recruiting family members of other board members or staff may create some challenges for your organization.12
  • Making Your Search Public13 (Use your job description language):
    • Distribute a newsletter with your board needs and post on your website.
    • Post on your social media accounts.
    • Post at your local city or county clerk’s office.
    • Consider using a couple compelling photos of an organization event.
  • Create an Application: In addition to obtaining a resume, consider creating an application so you can learn more about your board prospects.
  • Background check? Depending on the mission of your organization (i.e. supporting vulnerable populations) and if board members handle funds, you may want to conduct a background check. Check out our section on this website “To Background Check or Not Background Check Volunteers”.
  • Other Checks: Look at work history and think about checking out a candidate’s social media account to help eliminate potential red flags.14
  • Have Your Candidate Volunteer: Ask your prospects to volunteer for an event or project for your organization or join one of your committees.
  • Time Commitment: What is their time commitment like? Are they ok with attending board and committee meetings plus volunteering for projects and/or events?
  • Look for other board qualities:15
    • It’s good to have people who are willing to work as a team.
    • Evaluate issues objectively.
    • Possess a willingness to learn about the community and it’s needs.
    • The population in Custer County has a fairly high turnover rate so many new people need to learn about our community.
    • The ideal candidate is committed to your organization mission and is not on your board to advocate for their business or create some financial gain.16
  • Visit with Your Candidate: Have your Board President and one or two other board members meet your candidate for coffee and visit. Note if the candidate has attempted to learn about your organization and visited your website.
  • If you have a facility, provide a tour.
  • Review your website and your board meeting schedule.
  • Provide a history of your organization and what you do.
  • Provide copies of your organization documents, such as bylaws and articles of incorporation.
  • Provide copies of your organization’s financials. If they are new to financial statements, teach them how to read and understand your financial statements.
  • Have them sign a conflict-of-interest form.
  • Consider assigning a mentor, especially if they haven’t served on a board before.
  • Have the new board member attend one of your organization’s events and meet some of your volunteers.
  • Deal with board turnover by making board recruiting a continuous process.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to fill board vacancies.18
  • If you don’t have a governance committee, have your board appoint a small committee whose task is to manage board recruiting.19
  • Task your board, volunteers and staff to be on the lookout for board prospects.
  • You can place interested parties on a committee or ask them to volunteer while you’re waiting for a board opening.
  • Make the recruiting process part of your board’s job (or a committee’s job). Review your board recruiting process a couple times a year.

Custer County has a small population, approximately half of whom are out-of-state during the winter months. Each nonprofit must explore if it works to take on a couple board members who have the experience and talent that they need but are only in the Valley part time. Tools like Zoom, email, document sharing (Google docs, Microsoft OneDrive ProtonDrive, Dropbox, etc.) make for better communication and interaction with out-of-town people. During the out-of-town months can you think of what tasks might be accomplished by your “virtual” board members?


1 Nonprofit Pro – “A Guide to Having a Board Recruitment Strategy” by Duke Haddad, Ed.D, 12.14.2021
2 WildApricot – “4 Steps to Recruiting the Right Board Members for Your Nonprofit” by Tatiana Morand, 02.19.21
3 WildApricot – “4 Steps to Recruiting the Right Board Members for Your Nonprofit” by Tatiana Morand, 02.19.21
4 WildApricot – “4 Steps to Recruiting the Right Board Members for Your Nonprofit” by Tatiana Morand, 02.19.21
5 WildApricot – “4 Steps to Recruiting the Right Board Members for Your Nonprofit” by Tatiana Morand, 02.19.21
6 WildApricot – “4 Steps to Recruiting the Right Board Members for Your Nonprofit” by Tatiana Morand, 02.19.21
7 Board Effect – “Recruiting Nonprofit Board Member’s Do’s and Don’ts” by Lena Eisenstein, 02.03.2020
8 WildApricot – “4 Steps to Recruiting the Right Board Members for Your Nonprofit” by Tatiana Morand, 02.19.21
Nonprofit Pro – “A Guide to Having a Board Recruitment Strategy” by Duke Haddad, Ed.D, 12.14.2021
9 Board Effect – “Recruiting Nonprofit Board Member’s Do’s and Don’ts” by Lena Eisenstein, 02.03.2020
10 WildApricot – “4 Steps to Recruiting the Right Board Members for Your Nonprofit” by Tatiana Morand, 02.19.21
11 Board Effect – “Recruiting Nonprofit Board Member’s Do’s and Don’ts” by Lena Eisenstein, 02.03.2020
12 https://boardsource.org/fundamental-topics-of-nonprofit-board-service/composition-recruitment/board– recruitment
13 WildApricot – “4 Steps to Recruiting the Right Board Members for Your Nonprofit” by Tatiana Morand, 02.19.21
14 Boardable – How to Build a High Impact Board
15 WildApricot – “4 Steps to Recruiting the Right Board Members for Your Nonprofit” by Tatiana Morand, 02.19.21
16 “Recruiting and Engaging Volunteers” Renny Fagan Arrow Performance Group, March 2023
17 https://boardsource.org/fundamental-topics-of-nonprofit-board-service/composition-recruitment/board– recruitment
18 Board Effect – “Recruiting Nonprofit Board Member’s Do’s and Don’ts” by Lena Eisenstein, 02.03.2020
19 WildApricot – “4 Steps to Recruiting the Right Board Members for Your Nonprofit” by Tatiana Morand, 02.19.21

References:

Bpardsource.org:
https://boardsource.org/fundamental-topics-of-nonprofit-board-service/composition-recruitment/board-recruitment

https://boardsource.org – Board Orientation Checklist – https://boardsource.org/nonprofit-board-orientation-checklist/

https://boardsource.orghttp://boardsource.org/fundamental-topics-of-nonprofit-board-service/composition-recruitment/board-recruitment


Boardeffect.org: https://boardeffect.org – “Recruiting Nonprofit Board Members: Do’s and Don’ts” by Lena Eisenstein, February 3, 2006

Nonprofitpro.com: https://nonprofitpro.com – “A Guide to Having a Board Recruitment Strategy” by Duke Haddad, Ed.D, December 21, 2021

Boardable.com: https://boardable.com – “Board Member Recruitment: How to Build a High-Impact Board”

Wildapricot.com: https://wildapricot.com – “4 Steps to Recruiting the Right Board Members for Your Nonprofit” by Tatiana Morand, February 19, 2021

Arrow Performance Group – Renny Fagan: renny@arrowperformancegroup.com “Recruiting and Engaging Volunteers” (PowerPoint presentation) March 2023

General Resources and Links

VolunteerMatch – https://www.volunteermatch.org/
An online service that connects volunteers with opportunities to serve. Nonprofits can post their volunteer needs, browse volunteer profiles, and use their free recruitment toolkit.

Create the Good – https://createthegood.aarp.org/
Powered by AARP, this site caters to baby boomers looking to contribute their skills, time and experience. Nonprofits can use it to target this demographic.

The Wet Mountain Valley Community Foundation does not endorse any product or services provided by vendors who are mentioned in this website.

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