We hear and get asked by many people we communicate with – ‘what can we do to attract new board members’. Our advice would be to ask about the current situation with existing board members. Thought needs to be given to the culture, effectiveness and role of the current board in relation to attracting any new members as any new member will need to have a “good fit”.
We recommend that before any new board members are sought, energy be put into ensuring the current board are working cohesively together and are connected with their roles and responsibilities.
One of the first things to do is to ensure that the mission and purpose of the organisation is documented and is clearly understood. Following on from that:
- Documented expectations of the board (reviewed annually) together with a set of outcomes and their related timelines
- An overview of meeting attendance
- What is expected of the board members with regards to direct involvement with fundraising, member engagement, volunteering and personal giving
- Setting the scene for meetings with an agenda – look at new collaborative online tools to encourage collaboration beforehand
- Keep to the strategic decisions and don’t get bogged down in the detail
- Encourage robust discussion about major issues and decisions
- Ensure there is a strategic plan and that it is reviewed annually to keep pace with environmental and internal changes.
If all the above is ticking over nicely then it will make a new board member feel they are part of an organisation that is forward-thinking, efficient and cohesive. We encourage any organisation seeking new board members to think critically about what contribution they want board members to make, what skills they will contribute and whether they will bring diversity to the ‘team’.
For a great, more in depth article, Terrible Board Members Are Created Not Born.
You may also be interested in Challengers, Not Critics, Welcome!