An effective board of directors begins with having the appropriate people in place. Without this thoughtfully constructed team of individuals, it becomes difficult to achieve a group that is able to work together cohesively and strategically.
Nonprofit leaders often find that looking for a nonprofit board member can be a time-consuming and frustrating experience. Using online resources, such as LinkedIn, may be a great place to start that search. This blog will discuss how to plan for, and explore, various resources for finding your next board member.
Before You Search, Analyze Your Current State
To save time and resources, do some analysis of the current state of your Board before launching into a search. Here are some considerations:
- Does your board currently have an adequate number of well-functioning board committees and/or other workgroups to support your organization’s operations?
- What is the expertise, skill set and individual make up of your existing Board for current needs? Could the Board you have now potentially serve your future needs?
- Do you have a mix of demographics, individual skills and interests, dedication to your agency’s mission, appropriate level of diversity and reflection of the population served by your agency?
- Does your nonprofit regularly recruit new members? If so, by what process? Is a standardized interview conducted and a set of standard questions asked? How can you use those questions to also inform your search?
Ideally you already have a pool of potential board members who are already passionate about your mission. People who may be interested in a board positions include, but are not limited to:
- Current volunteers
- Someone in your donor network
- Connections of current board members
- Someone who represents of the demographics of the community served
Individuals may need to be educated on what it means to serve on your board. Take the opportunity to train and mentor people about the reward of being a board member of your organization. Remember, it’s possible that a terrific potential board member has not stepped forward because no one ever asked them.
Board Connection Organizations
If you have exhausted the search for board members among your current pool of connections, it may be appropriate to use a board connection organization and online tools. A focused online search can be a great source for seeking out qualified, appropriate, new nonprofit board of director members for virtually any type of agency.
For one, LinkedIn’s service, LinkedIn Board Member Connect, aims to help streamline this recruitment process. Board Member Connect helps nonprofit leaders leverage their own networks and their board members’ networks to find the right skilled professionals to join their boards.
One of the benefits of Board Member Connect is the advanced search feature that allows you to target specific qualities while searching for your ideal candidate. For example, you can search for someone with legal experience, who works in the housing industry and is located in Greater New York City. There is also a “nonprofit interests” search feature that allows you to filter by professionals who have indicated their interest in board service.
To participate, you must be a registered U.S. nonprofit organization. With regard to cost, nonprofits are able to post board opportunities on LinkedIn for less than $50 per posting. BoardSource members can post an opportunity for free at their Board Recruitment Center. Impact Opportunity and BoardnetUSA are two additional, nationwide sites where you can post open board positions. You may also contact your local United Way or local community foundation for additional recruitment resources.
Once you have a solid list of places for outreach as well as people to connect with – the process may prove to be both less time-consuming and frustrating.
Good luck on your search!
Next week: You’ve found the best board for your organization, now what? How educating both new and existing members can positively affect your organization.
For more information or questions about the contents of this article, please write or call Jennifer Flowers @ Jennifer@AccreditationGuru.com / 212.209.0240. This post contains original content and was written for Accreditation Guru, Inc. Use of this copy is permitted with credit and reference within the same body of copy to Accreditation Guru, Inc.