Hosting a Board Recruitment Event

Sections of this topic

    This is a companion piece to Board Recruitment –Don’t Expect the “Fully Loaded Potato” at First at my blog at

    Having a board recruitment event gives Boards and Executive Directors a chance to work together on this important responsibility. Every Board needs to be active in bringing in new members. It is an essential part of their leadership. There are whole books written on recruitment. The focus of this article is a sample process for planning and hosting a successful board recruitment event.
    What Are You Looking For?
    Determine what skills you need to develop on the Board. This is an analysis specific to your organization. If you have three lawyers you don’t need another one. Does your Board need
    someone with financial management, marketing, building management, human resources, or other skills? Did I forget fundraising? No, I didn’t forget it. People with fundraising skills are either already on a Board that they are very committed to or they are burnt out. If you know someone who isn’t in one of these categories and is a skilled fundraiser, roll out the red carpet. Otherwise, plan on developing fundraising skills for all of your Board members.

    Governance Committee Chair’s Presentation

    The presentation should include:
    -Roles and Responsibilities of the Board
    -Expectations of Individual Board Members
    -Qualities of Board Members

    Interactive Activity
    Pass out large sheets of construction paper. Ask each person to draw a picture that represents their association with the mission of the organization or what they could envision it being if they were a guest. Have everyone share their picture with people at their table. The facilitator can ask volunteers at each table to share with the whole group. This activity helps wind the evening down in a positive tone still focused on the mission of your organization.

    Wrap-Up and Next Steps
    Ask each guest to fill out an “Interest Form” or an application. If you are seeking committee members who may not also be Board members then you need to fill your a form that you give to attendees. Explain that the ED and a Board Member will follow up with a tour of your facilities or an invitation to one of the organization’s events.

    Closing the Deal
    Once you have completed the post-recruitment visit, it is time for the close. Either the ED or Governance Committee member should now ask the invitee to join the Board and feel comfortable about making a sales pitch. If the person has stayed with you up to this point you should be able to close the deal.

    This is only one suggestion for a recruitment plan. There really is no one-size-fits-all all that works for all organizations. Each organization has a different set of parameters to deal with when recruiting board members. It is worth it to make the investment of upfront analysis and planned recruiting to attract the type of board members you need.


    For more resources, see our Library topic Nonprofit Capacity Building.