Typically, board members are appointed once a year at the annual meeting, however, board recruiting should be an ongoing activity. Most boards have specific terms for each position, and thus, boards can predict how many positions will need to be replaced at the next annual meeting. The first step in recruiting is determining what positions you need to fill.
Some considerations when recruiting:
- Perform a needs assessment – What is missing? Evaluate the attributes that the continuing board members bring to the organization and identify what skills you are looking for.
- Expertise – do you need someone with a specific skill? Accountants and lawyers, for example, tend to be in high demand for board positions due to their subject matter expertise.
- Diversity – do you need someone outside of your industry? Someone new to the organization’s operations can bring a fresh perspective and new opportunities.
- Stakeholders – do you need to include someone from your members, funders, or customers? Those who already have an interest in your success can be a great asset to the board.
- Commitment – does the prospective board member have time available to commit? Defining the board roles and related time commitments allow prospective board members to realistically assess whether they can join the group, before they join the group.
- Strategic Plans – what is the “next big thing” for your organization? Recruiting someone who has experience with what you are planning can be a big boost to your success.
Once you have determined what skills and abilities you are looking for, the organization, board members and staff can reach out to their networks to identify potential candidates. Ask your volunteers, personal connections, service providers or other organizations. Post on social media and your website. If you have identified a specific expertise, reach out to the association for that group (or individual companies) to make a connection!