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 neighborhood with that job description and it wouldn't mean a thing.
If I were building a board recruitment program from scratch, I'd also want to think about what surrounds those two pieces of information -- what supports and reinforces them. They're two pieces of an overarching program that includes several activities ranging from prospect identification to orientation to full engagement of new members into the work of the board. Each of these activities requires a plan of attack and related materials. I'd want to have that all thought out and in place.
For example, orientation is an important early opportunity to ground a new board member in the vision, mission and values of the organization. It requires face-to-face discussion that's best supported with a facilities tour, staff meet-up, and reference manual of all key documents (including organizational documents, policies, financials, strategic plans, contact lists, and program info).
Full engagement of new board members requires that they receive an assignment right away and perhaps some mentoring from veteran board members.So, here's your assignment: take a look at your current board recruitment program. If you were to rebuild it or build one from scratch, where would you start?
Photo: Tinker Toys from M & J: Character Hunters