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Finding Your Next Board Members

Posted by Care Net on Dec 14, 2014 10:52:00 AM

blog-board-membersIf your center is preparing to recruit new board members, following an orderly plan of action is recommended. The first step is deciding who should be responsible for recruitment. This may be a single person on a small board, or a working group of several people that focus on board recruitment. Many centers form a recruitment or nominating committee.

The next step is developing a list of characteristics for the ideal candidate(s). What sort of professional or ministry experience should the candidate have? What kind of talents or personal skills should the board member bring to the organization? For example, if a member who is rotating off the board is a skilled fundraiser, you may want to look for new candidates with a similar skill set. Or, if you already have two attorneys serving on your board, you may want to recruit new board members from outside of the legal community. Look at the gender and age balance on your board. If the board is currently dominated by men, look for a qualified woman. If board members are mostly older, seek out someone who is younger. Consider using a Board Matrix Worksheet (such as this one, fromOneOC, or this one, adapted from BoardSource) to identify skill or experience gaps on your board.

The place to begin looking for new board members is close to home. Begin seeking names from those who are most committed to the work of the center.  While collecting suggestions, keep in mind that only the board members responsible for recruitment (i.e., members of the recruitment committee) should approach potential candidates on behalf of the center. 

Below are a few suggestions to get you started:

  1. Ask current and former board members for names of candidates
  2. Check with your volunteers
  3. Consider individuals who currently serve on committees or as liaisons with other organizations
  4. Consider looking through your list of higher dollar donors
  5. Identify strong, life-affirming believers in local churches

The best new board members have already demonstrated their passion for the ministry by working faithfully on the center's behalf as a business or community leader, by serving on special committees, or liaising between the center and their home church.

Identifying potential board members is only one step in the recruitment process. Before recruitment begins, it is important to have developed a job description for board members, and a board information packet. Potential board members should be asked to financially support the center or to engage in volunteer projects before recruitment proceeds. And, of course, board candidate references should be checked. Candidates should be interviewed and should attend at least one board meeting as a guest before being invited to serve on the board.

Often centers have difficulty finding candidates for board membership. Board members, just like financial resources, tend to be available when the board and staff of the center are involved in their community, telling the center's story, and meeting individuals who would be interested in contributing to the center's mission. If the center's leaders are not proactively building such relationships, they may not enjoy a pool of committed people from which to recruit for board membership.

Pray for the Lord to bring qualified candidates to your center and then go do the work of recruiting those women and men.

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” - Colossians 3:23-24, ESV

To access Board Insight archives with more blog posts about Board issues, become a Care Net affiliate. For more comprehensive information on building your center's board, visit Care Net's online store to purchase our Faithful Stewards manual.

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