Now that you’ve put together a great list of potential Board members, it is time to recruit them.
The first step is to reach out to each nominated potential Board member with a letter of interest and a one-page Board of Directors Overview that gives an overview of the organization, the need for new Board members and the Board member responsibilities.
If the potential Board member is interested and can meet the responsibilities of the Board, the second step is to set up an interview with the Nominations Committee. You will eliminate more than half of your candidates before the interview process. Although many qualified candidates have the talent to sit on your Board, they may not have the resources – like time and treasure — to serve on your Board. The interview allows for both parties to get to know one another to determine if there was a good fit. The interview addresses why a new potential Board members would want to join the board, what they hope to bring to the board, confirm that they can make a commitment of his/her time, treasure, and talent and address any conflicts of interest. The interview is a two-way conversation for each party to get to know each other.
Interview Sample Questions can include:
• Please explain your interest in serving as a Director for the Board.
• Please explain your understanding of the role of the Board of Directors and how your skills, abilities and resources will help you fulfill that role.
• Please describe your understanding of the organization’s need to raise funds and how your skills, abilities and resources will help this effort.
• Please describe your previous experiences with nonprofit boards.
• Please share any reservations or concerns that you might have in serving as a Director on the Board.
• How will the organization benefit from your participation?
• What Board activities (programs, budgetary/ financial oversight, fundraising, membership, legal) would be of interest to you?
• What would make for a satisfying board experience for you?
• What kind of work do you hope you don’t have to do as a member of the Board?
• Are you able to make the commitment required both financially ($2,500 annual donation) and the time commitment (monthly Board meetings, monthly committee meetings)?
Before the interview, ask the potential Board member to fill out an application or bring his/her resume. You want to know his or her occupation and company, formal education and volunteer experience.
Another method of recruitment is to invite the Board candidate to attend a Board meeting. It will give them a chance to meet other Board members, experience a Board meeting and learn more about organization. The candidate does not need to stay for the whole meeting especially if there is confidential information on the Board meeting agenda.
Once all of the potential Board members have been interviewed, the Nominations Committee will need to sit down and evaluate each individual. When reviewing potential Board candidates, discuss what role they will fill on the Board, what Board committee they will sit on and how they will mesh with the rest of the Board because you need a blend of leaders and followers. The Nominations Committee will assemble a slate of new Board members and present to the full Board for approval. Once these members are approved, send out an invitation to each Board member inviting them to join the Board. This invitation should be a letter (on organizational letterhead) mailed to the Board candidate and contain instructions on how the candidate can respond to the invitation (i.e. call the Executive Director or Board Chair to accept/decline).
Friday’s blog post will cover how to orient these new Board members.