Recruiting the wrong people will contribute to potential future engagement issues. Avoid this situation by asking the right board prospects to join your board. Here are three tips that can eliminate recruiting mistakes that create self-inflicted damage to board member engagement.
Don’t buy into the busy person myth
How frequently do we hear “If you want something done, ask a busy person?” And each time we nod knowingly as if that is some great wisdom handed down from an all-knowing leadership guru. Be realistic. The reality is that going after busy people because they get things done can be counterproductive. How many number-one priorities can someone realistically have? And are you willing to be less than a top priority? If a person is involved in multiple organizations, how many board meetings can they reasonably attend? How many charitable dinners can they go to? How many donation checks will they write? How many times will their friends accept their fundraising solicitation calls? Bottom line, how many causes can be their most important priority?
Work just a little harder to identify people with greater flexibility with their scheduling commitments and a passion for your cause in their hearts.
Don’t assume that your expectations are understood by others. Don’t assume that your expectations hold the same level of importance with all board members either. Don’t assume that individuals who don’t have needed experience, skill sets, or time can be converted into high-performance or even adequate board members.
Know your board prospects
My study of personality characteristics shows me that each individual’s persona greatly determines what type of board member they will be. Take into account that personality traits directly impact how individuals relate to others. What personalities would be considered best fits for your board?
If you want board members to be fundraisers, get fundraisers. Not everyone is willing to ask others for money. Assuming non-fundraisers will behave differently because they are board members is just asking to be frustrated.
Keep this in mind when recruiting potential board members, there are times when a “no” from a prospect to your board invitation can be the best answer for all concerned.
What tips do you have that will help others improve their board recruiting results?