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Board Recruitment: Whose job is it anyway?
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Board Recruitment: Whose job is it anyway?

Ed Massey Senior Associate, Diversified Nonprofit Services

Okay, the fact of the matter is, it is both the volunteer and staff job to identify, recruit, and develop the volunteer leaders for your organization. But, there are steps that need to be taken by both groups to move this process along to a successful conclusion.

I contend that it is the staff job to develop what I call the ‘wish list’ of those individuals that should be involved as Board volunteers with your organization. This is accomplished by examining and identifying the needs of your Board for certain areas of expertise and those individuals with influence in your community.

After this wish list has been developed, staff should then review this list with your Board development committee to make certain those identified are indeed the right people to be involvement with your organization. No one should be placed on this list without the agreement of this committee and under no circumstance should anyone be approached for Board involvement without first going through this process of identification and agreement that they are indeed the best person to fill a Board position.

After this list has been developed and approved, staff should conduct research of all individuals on the list. Research should include wealth, giving capacity, giving history, volunteer involvement, business relationships, education background, etc. A strategy is then developed to determine who is the best person to approach this individual for service. Staff has the role of preparing the volunteer identified as the best contact for the recruitment with materials needed to help the volunteer make an informed presentation during the recruitment. Staff should also be on this recruitment call to assist the volunteer when questions arise that the volunteer might not be in position to answer. These questions usually come up when information about services your organization delivers that the volunteer might not be in a position to answer.

If the recruitment is successful it is staff’s role to develop the volunteer’s work plan for the year. This would include committee involvement, projects they might work on during the year, personal giving to the organization, as well as potential supporters they will be in a position to solicit during the annual campaign process. Board members role would be to assist with the engagement of the volunteer making sure they feel welcome to the Board and encourage them for their involvement in meetings and events. This is especially true for the volunteer that recruited the new Board member.

Properly executed, this process will go a long way towards assuring that your Board is balanced with the right mix of individuals and that they will be engaged in the work of the organization.