The informal poll running on the blog lately asked readers to characterize their board recruitment processes. The poll follows up on my posts about board recruitment here, here and here.
Here's the breakdown:
33% Loosey-Goosey: informal and sometimes unpredictable
25% A Last-Minute Scramble: could be anybody's game
41% Targeted: we know who we want and we work hard to get them
1% Multi-layered or Rigorous: a full-blown, vetted process
The good news is that 42% of respondents put their recruitment process at the structured end of the spectrum. A structured process matches institutional criteria to individual skills, which, in turn, fulfill mission, values and vision.
Nearly 60% of respondents, though, put their recruitment efforts at the unstructured (or nearly so) end of the spectrum. An unstructured process may seem the more user-friendly for some; it can be anxiety-producing for others.
I suspect that a larger polling sample would even out the percentages between structured and unstructured, likely tipping the balance toward the structured end of the spectrum. But, I do think that there are many nonprofits that struggle with board recruitment, give it short shrift or simply dismiss it altogether. If your organization falls into one of these categories (and you want to do something to address it), here's a great resource by Hildy Gottlieb to share with your board to get the discussion going.
And this article is one of the most carefully laid out discussions of the recruitment process that I have seen.