April 10, 2021

Strategic Board Recruitment

One of the most important responsibilities of a board is to ensure that it continuously adds qualified new members and keeps them engaged. Board building should not just happen when it is time to fill a vacancy. It should be an ongoing process with year-round activities.

This workshop guides participants through a process that focuses on the different steps needed to build an effective board. Understanding these steps can help boards avoid the common ups and downs of building and maintaining a diverse, inclusive and enthusiastic board.

Learning Objectives:

  • Articulate the need for a governance committee in supporting and strengthening overall board performance and recruitment
  • Cultivate an appreciation for the role that diversity and inclusion play in strategic board recruitment
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of the critical steps in the process of finding, recruiting, and engaging board members
  • Understand how to engage potential new board members in a way that sets them up for successful board service and that meets both the organization’s and the board member’s needs and expectations.

Medical Center Hospital

Auxiliary Board Leadership Training

Site Visit

Speed Up the Board Recruitment Process!

Non Profit Consulting and Training - Wendy Biro-Pollard

Imagine getting excited about volunteering for something, and then waiting six or seven months before you actually get to do it. Can we accelerate the process by “pre-qualifying” candidates?

One of the most frustrating parts of board recruitment is the length of time — often months — between talking with a prospect and then bringing him onto the board . . . months during which the candidate usually becomes less interested. For instance, a person might be tentatively asked in January, discussed by the governance/nominating committee in February, have her name brought to the board for discussion in March, officially interviewed/asked in April, elected by the board in May, and her first board meeting is in July! Some boards invite potential recruits to observe a board meeting before deciding whether to join, which adds even more time.

To accelerate this process, some boards invite candidates to the board meeting at which they will be voted on. The hitch, of course, is that it makes it very difficult for a board NOT to approve someone who is already in attendance (albeit asked to sit in the hall for a few minutes).

Instead, think about “pre-approving” some candidates. Often a few names arise of people who are already known well by several other people on the board: perhaps a community leader, a mayor, a long-term activist, and so forth. In such cases, the board can have a preliminary discussion about the candidate and provisionally approve him or her as a board member. The full board then cedes to the governance committee the power to make a final decision on the candidate based on the outcome of the governance committee’s discussion with him or her. The committee members will interview the candidate, then quickly discuss among themselves how the interview went. If the committee members agree, the person can be immediately notified of his or her acceptance, and can attend the next board meeting.

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