Recruiting Board Members

Board members are one of the most critical components of every nonprofit organization. Except a few exceptions, almost all board members serve the organizations for free. Since board members are in charge of major decisions in your organization, it is important that you recruit the best board members for your organization. Understanding what motivates people to serve on the boards of nonprofits is

The main reason for people to join boards is because they are passionate about your organization; they care about your mission, and would like to contribute their time, and talents for helping you go forward. Some join a board because they believe in the mission, but they have particular ways in mind in order to achieve the organization’s goal, so they join to have the influence in making decisions. The other reason could be that they are seeking social status, and networking opportunities. Some others join the organization because they are curious about your cause, and they would like to learn more. Lastly, some professions like attorneys have a service requirement, so they serve as board members to fulfill their requirements.

Depending on the history and type of organizations, you might have a lot of candidates who are willing to serve on your board, or you might be starting a new organization and trying hard to gather a few people together. In either way, you need to keep a few things in mind. Your board members should be invested in your organization by giving their time, and also donating financially. Other donors would like to see that board members of your organizations are donating as well, and you are not only asking outside sources. Try to invite people to serve on your board who have great connections and are well respected in your community. The board members serve as the major connection to partnering with other organizations, finding volunteers, connecting your organization with individuals, and corporate donors. Try to find people that would represent your organizations and people who you are serving. Diversity in your board is very important, it is better that you have people with different age, gender, and race. This diversity will help you to govern your organization in a much more efficient way. Also, when grant makers look at your board, they see a fair representation of different types of people. The other qualification for choosing board members is having members with different kinds of skill sets. It would be great if you could have an attorney to help with your legal matters, an accountant to look at your financial management, and others who have good public relations and care enough about your organization and its cause to talk about it in the community, and when necessary go out, and play a major role in your fundraising.

Make sure that you have a clear job description for each person who serves on your board, and provide them with a handbook. Identify your board members’ strengths, and assign them tasks accordingly. Train your board properly, so each of the members could articulate your mission in their own words, and they know the basics about what your organization do, and the history of it. The board members often are seen as the first representation of your organization, so it is important to keep them engaged.


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Sarah Cortell Vandersypen

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