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Showing posts from June, 2010

Building a Board Recruitment Program

IF YOU WERE BUILDING A BOARD RECRUITMENT program from scratch, what would you make of it?  I think I'd start with two pieces of information:  a board job description and a criteria list for the skills and attributes I need around that board table. The job description would give me most all the information I'd need to approach a prospect to discuss board service.  I'd consider it my script for the conversation.  It would include all the expectations my organization would expect of a board member and it would include what the board member could expect from the organization. The criteria list would be my road map to the people I'd be sharing that job description with.  As I've written about in other posts ( here , here and here ) it's knowing what I've got to work with and what I need that sets me up for my search of the who's.  Without this data, I could just ask any passing stranger if she or he had interest in joining my board.  I could just paper the

Prospecting for Board Members: Map That, Too!

IN MY LAST POST I WROTE ABOUT mapping your current board.  Let's go to the next step and think about how this same type of mapping can be used to identify skills and attributes needed to add to a board.   Your map might begin with a simple list of these skills and attributes -- a list that is drawn from discussions about your organization's vision, mission and values, from your strategic or long-range plan, from a board self-assessment and/or from writing a statement about what your ideal board would look like. As I've written about here , this exercise sets you (and your nominating or board development committee) up for moving your search from the "what" to the "who" -- the people who might fill your skills/attributes requirements. Some of your primary candidates might be found among your members, your volunteers, your corporate underwriters, and any number of people your organization interacts with every day.  But other prospects may be more removed...

"I Can See it Now!": Mapping Your Board

IF YOU WERE TO MAKE A MAP of the to make a map of the diversity, skills, attributes and networks each of your board members brings to your organization's table, what would it look like?  A board's combined talents form a profile that may be well-understood or barely perceived.  And we should all know that what a group thinks of itself may not be anything like what others might think. For a number of years I've used, and encouraged my client organizations to use, a simple chart to inventory these important elements.  Yesterday, I sat with an executive director and the chairperson of her organization's nominating committee and watched them complete just such a chart.  They inventoried gender, race, age, profession/avocation, skills brought to the organization, how each person is active in the organization, and what each person can help the organization accomplish. It revealed obvious characteristics (average age is about mid-50s to 60); it also revealed some not-so-obviou

Board Recruitment: Look for the What, Not the Who

BOARD RECRUITMENT IS SERIOUS BUSINESS.  Or it should be.  Now more than ever, our nonprofits need engaged, forward-thinking leadership.  Our nonprofits need board members who are willing to use a continual loop of strategy and feedback to define and shape mission, relevance and community connectedness.  To be content with board members who are ONLY interested in slices of an organization's mission is not enough.  Board members have to want to embrace the whole enchilada, because they understand that a nonprofit's impact is more than the sum of its parts. Nominating or board development committees need to sharpen their recruitment skills to laser-like precision.  Recruitment no longer begins with the question, "who do we know?", but with "what skills or access do we need?"  If you don't know what you're looking for, you're liable to accept any who .  That worked decades ago when boards were merely extensions of wealthy social clubs.  There's n