Every nonprofit must have a highly functional board to achieve the highest levels of success for the organization. Expectations are constantly changing, which is why nonprofits need to rethink old patterns to create a strong board that supports the overall mission of the nonprofit.

This article is the first of a four-part series where we are going to examine the process of shifting a “responsible” board to an “exceptional” board. Today, we are looking at strategies that can be used in identifying and cultivating new board members.

Identifying Potential Board Members

When it is time to bring in new board members, a sound strategy should be implemented to find the right people based on the resources and skill sets needed among the members. What is the strategic direction of the organization? Each board member must hold to the values and mission of the nonprofit. Additionally, they need to be willing to ask the right questions and own the responsibility for following through on commitments.

Not only does your board need leadership skills, but the individual members need to work as part of a team. Add value to the group by bringing in people with diverse perspectives. Strive to develop a team that is balanced when it comes to gender, age and racial/ethnic backgrounds. These different perspectives will help the board better respond to the needs of the community.

Cultivating New Board Members

The cultivation of potential board members needs to be an ongoing focus. Cultivation can include two activities:

  1. Establishing a pool of people who might be invited to join the board in the future. Cast a wide net to look beyond the usual prospect demographics.
  2. Building relationships with these individuals to establish a foundation that eventually leads them to board membership. Ask them to serve on board committees, so you can evaluate their commitment and abilities.

Potential board members should be identified; then, they need to be educated about the work within the organization. As relationships are strengthened, they will become more engaged with your nonprofit.

Part of this process is to get to know each other, ensuring that their personality is a good fit for the culture of your nonprofit board. This identification and cultivation process should be managed by the governance committee.

Support for the Development of Your Board

Sometimes it can be hard to distinguish between the relationship cultivation and the recruitment process. But the overall goal is the same: selecting the right candidates to fill open seats when needed. For more information, call Mirenda & Associates today to learn more about available services and resources for nonprofit training support.