Guidelines for Recruiting New Board Members

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    Guidelines for Recruiting New Board Members

    © Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD

    Vast majority of content in this topic applies to for-profits and nonprofits. This book also covers this topic.

    Developing, Operating and Restoring Your Nonprofit Board - Book Cover

    The following guidelines should be modified as necessary to conform to the particular culture and purpose of the organization.

    It’s very important to keep the perspective that your board deserves highly skilled and participative board members. Don’t erode your goals and believe that you are lucky to get anyone at all.

    When you set out to recruit new members, the most important consideration is know what kind of skills are currently needed by the board. Consider the nature of issues and goals currently faced by the organization, for example, if you’re struggling with finances then seek a member with strong financial skills. It’s highly useful to use a Sample Board Recruitment Grid.

    1. Maintain an up-to-date list of potential board candidates, including the particular skills they can bring to the organization. This is often done by the Nominating Committee or the Board Development Committee.

    2. Develop a Sample Board Application Form for prospective new board members. The form should solicit information about the potential new member, including biographical information, why they want to join this board, what they hope to bring to the board, what they would like to get from their board membership and any questions they might have.

    3. Per any scheduling in the By-laws and/or after strategic planning, reference major strategic goals for the organization and the chief executive to identify what skills would be highly useful to the board, e.g., if new people will be hired, the board may desire people with human resource skills, etc.

    4. Reference the list of potential candidates to recruit for board membership and ask to meet with them.

    5. Prospective board members should meet with the board chair and the chief executive, hear an overview of the organization and receive relevant organizational materials describing the organization’s products or services, receive a board member job description and a board member application form. The prospective new member should hear about how the organization orients new members. Provide names
    of several board members whom the prospective new member might contact with any questions.

    7. Identify if there are any potential conflicts of interest with the candidate, e.g., is he or she on the board of a competing organization, a vendor of the organization, etc.

    8. Invite the prospective new member to a board meeting. Notify current board members that a potential new member will be attending. Consider name tags to help the potential new member be acquainted with board members. Introduce the member right away in the meeting and, at the end of the meeting, ask the potential new member if they have any questions. Thank them for coming.

    9. Shortly after the meeting, call the prospective new member to hear if they want to apply for joining the board or not. If so, solicit their completed board member application and provide all applications to the board for their review and election.

    10. Notify new members (those who have been elected) and invite them to subsequent board meetings and the board orientation.

    See the following link that explains what a potential board member should consider before joining a board

    5 Things to Consider Before Joining a Board of Directors

    Return to Recruiting and Orienting New Board Members

    For the Category of Boards of Directors:

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