Most small nonprofits that I know have difficulty recruiting for their board of directors. When the founder is still the executive leader and/or the organization is in the startup phase, often board members are friends. That’s a great way to start, of course. How do you get beyond that start up phase? Who do you recruit?
Every board is different. There is no set formula. Board Source has a good resource for putting together a board matrix. A good board mix would have a variety of skill set, age, ethnicity. A good mixture of board members makes for better over governance. Diversity of members makes for unique perspectives. Recruitment-Matrix
Who do you want on your board? Here are some suggestions on who to look for:
- A lawyer can give you advice on contracts, employee or other legal issues.
- An accountant can be useful to serve as treasurer.
- A wealth manager or banker can steer you in the right director for investment purposes and contacts in the community.
- A marketer or public relations professional is very valuable for putting together a communication and marketing plan.
- A person who has expertise in your program. For example, if you are a health based nonprofit, look for a doctor. If you are education focused, recruit a teacher.
What you don’t want are boards members who:
- Join to pad their resume. They will flame out.
- Join just because you throw a good party and are in it for the social life. Once the parties gone, they will be too.
- Are talked into joining, or worst coerced. Again, expect flame out syndrome.
- Are members of many other boards. Their time, attention and financial support will be spread too thin.
If you need figuring out who you should be recruiting, call me for a free consultation.