Recruit Board Members with Purpose and Process

The recruitment process that culminates in each year’s national signing day for college football prospects provides a good model for nonprofit board recruiting.

Successful teams are meticulously purposeful in their recruiting methodology. Emulating their tactics can improve results for nonprofits wanting increased board performance.

Teams devote time and resources to evaluating and cultivating prospects. The approach they use identifies their specific needs and the prospects who meet them. They place a premium on selecting players who will be a good fit.

An organized system recognizes players with potential as early as youth league and tracks them through their senior year in high school. Coaches are assigned to monitor progress and develop relationships.

Before offering a scholarship, teams must have a high level of confidence that a prospect will deliver on anticipated expectations.

How does the focus to keep an ongoing pipeline of quality players ready to fill a team’s personnel requirements compare to that of nonprofit board selection?

Too often nonprofit board member recruitment is the opposite of the intensive effort that goes into that of the quest for the best possible athlete. It shouldn’t be.

Recruiting board members with a process similar to that of top-ranked teams has two definite benefits. First, organizations are more likely to fill board seats with individuals who will meet performance expectations. Second, the frustration caused by selection mistakes is diminished.

Here are seven action essentials that will build a foundation for creating a successful board recruiting process for nonprofits.

  • Make recruiting quality board members a priority.
  • Commit to the time and structured focus necessary for producing the high value board members your organization wants.
  • Establish standards for skills, expertise, experience, and commitment.
  • Identify the factors for determining if a prospect will be a good fit for your particular board.
  • Develop a pool of possible candidates who meet your criteria. Include those who might not be ready now but could be desirable in the future. Keep replenishing the list as prospects either join the board or are eliminated from consideration.
  • Do your homework. Incorporate systematic evaluation and relationship building that leads to good selection decisions.
  • Work in advance. Just as teams don’t wait until graduation day to start thinking about how they will replace a departing player, don’t wait until a vacancy occurs to begin your search for a board replacement. It’s a continuous process.

Teams competing for championships want championship level players. Is settling or get-what-you-get results going to deliver what your organization needs? Doesn’t your mission deserve the best possible board members?

Increase board engagement and reduce board related frustration by developing and using a structured process that recruits performance minded, well matched board members.

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