How to Find the Right Nonprofit Board Members

Selecting board members for a nonprofit organization is not unlike selecting the leadership for a traditional business. However, over a quarter of nonprofit directors (27 percent) do not believe that their board members truly understand the goals, strategy and mission of their organization, according to a Stanford Business 2015 Survey on Board of Directors of Nonprofit Organizations. Much like any other business, if your organization doesn’t have strong people as its leaders, the organization is not likely to reach its full potential, and could even see a decline.

There are numerous ways to properly evaluate nonprofit board members; you just have to find out how. When looking for a new member, you’re looking for someone that is dedicated, passionate and competent. If you’re wondering what you can do to bolster your nonprofit team, here’s what you can do, via Wild Apricot.

The Four-Step Board Recruitment Process

Sure, developing a process for your organization to rely on is a tedious task. But establishing and continuing to follow a set process ensures that it is organized from start to finish, and allows your organization to keep the experience evenly balanced for all candidates. Don’t think of the process as just a necessary evil for you to fill seats or meet a quota. It’s about finding quality volunteers with excellent leadership qualities that will benefit your nonprofit now and in the future.

The first step is establishing a reliable team to invigorate your recruiting. Once you’ve figured out who will be responsible for board member recruitment, then you can move on to the details of the actual recruitment. When a gap presents itself, this is how you should fill it:

  1. Define your needs. When drafting a job description, it really needs to perfectly describe the candidate that you desire. This will help expedite the recruiting process by ensuring that the candidates you receive are all ones that are qualified for the job. It’s important to accurately define the skills and attributes that your ideal hire should possess. Prospective board members need to be aware of what’s expected out of the role. If you’re able to identify those qualities early on, then it’ll be easier to evaluate candidates properly. Some things that should be listed in the job description include benefits, responsibilities, the term, general duties, time commitment, financial commitment and skills.
  2. Find candidates. If you’re trying to develop leads, the best thing you can do is keep a list of candidate volunteers who offer to volunteer all year. If you have a preset list, it’s a lot easier to  find reliable people to be a part of your board. If you don’t keep track of volunteers, now is your time to start. Get the word out about the position through social media and community outreach.
  3. Screen carefully. There should be a process developed to help screen candidates and create a short-list for potential interviews. When going into an interview, make sure you have a set number of questions. On top of that, make sure the company goals and responsibilities are clearly defined for the interviewee.
  4. Provide an in-depth orientation. So you’ve selected a new board member. Congratulations! The next thing that needs to be done is to get them up to speed. Provide a welcome packet with all the information needed to succeed; dive into a training video so your member gets the hang of things.

When navigating the recruitment and onboarding process, it is important that you have a commercial insurance program in place with the right coverage to protect your organization through your search. From hiring liabilities to the risks of adding a new member to the team, these early stages have a great deal of potential for claims. Make sure that you have a commercial insurance package specifically designed to address the nonprofit sector and its insurance needs.

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