In Recruiting Board Members? Ask for Help, I described how one small nonprofit held a gathering to ask members of their community for help in thinking up names of possible board members. As I was cleaning out their folder for filing, I spied the invite letter our recruitment team prepared.
It’s ideal to have your next board recruits ready-to-pick from an in-house farm team of committees volunteers, and donors. But most boards that find themselves asking for our help to build a stronger board haven’t created that team (if they had, they probably wouldn’t need our advice, now would they.) Or, even if you have built a farm team, it may be pretty homogeneous, lacking the rich diversity of backgrounds, ethnicity and experiences that you desire. So many boards benefit from recruiting members beyond their inner circle.
1. We don’t have great “word of mouth” working for us on the rewards of board service, mainly because most board members don’t experience any. Instead of engaging board members in the exciting, strategic work of community change making, we stick them in meetings where they fuss over ministrivia or get reported at.