Finding the Right Board Members for Your Organization
Having the right board members is key to a nonprofit's success — and identifying prospective board members is a vital step in having the board that your organization deserves!
Serving on a board, like making a major gift, takes commitment and a deep understanding of the organization's mission. A key to success in finding prospective board members is approaching this process just like major gifts. Treat your key prospective board members like you would prospective major donors — and there should be plenty of those major-donor prospects in your prospective board pool.
Maintain a list of prospective board members that have been vetted by your board and staff leadership. These should include:
- Members suggested by other board members — invite board members to consider recommendations several times a year.
- Former board members — they may have rotated off or left due to other demands, but their interest may have remained keen and this might be the right time for them to serve or serve again.
- Top donors — determine who among your top donors would be good board candidates.
- Volunteers — too often we overlook the potential of volunteers, so be sure to review these lists regularly.
- Family members of past board members, key supporters and others — work to maintain family involvement, especially with the younger generations.
Then, within these categories, you want to discern criterion including proven interest in association and a track record of leadership in other organizations before.
This is not just a list to maintain and review once a year when you vote on new board members. This is a list to regularly review and prioritize with your board and staff leadership. Just like your best prospective donors, plan to connect with and have conversations with your best prospective board members on a regular basis. You will deepen their connection to your organization, and you will also discern their receptivity to an invitation to serve on your board.
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.