Growing Your Not-for-Profit’s Board of Directors
March 13, 2017
By Brian Collins, CPA
Many organizations have a difficult time finding candidates for vacant seats on their board of directors. Here are some action steps that your not-for-profit can take to find potential candidates.
- Start with your dedicated and active volunteers. Volunteers are already very passionate about the organizations they commit their time to and may not have thought about servicing the not-for-profit as a board member. Take a look at your current volunteers; there could be a future board member there.
- Ask your current board and staff for nominations or recommendations. Every board member should be able to provide at least one potential board member.
- Use volunteer recruitment websites such as Volunteer Match.
- Social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, have interactive tools to search for board candidates in your own network. You can also use social media to let the community know that the board is actively looking for new board members. Go ahead and put it out there on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
- Reach out to your state’s not-for-profit association. For example, the website of the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations has a section dedicated to open positions at the many not-for-profit organizations in Pennsylvania.
- Host an open house or volunteer fair at one of your not-for-profits locations so members of the community can get to know more about your organization and its mission. Encourage current board members to attend so they can network and possibly meet a future board member.
- Reach out to your auditor, banker, and/or other business consultants to see if they know of any individuals in their networks that would be interested in serving as a board member.
Once you have candidates for the board, the process isn’t finished. It’s important to assess their skills and experience so you can properly identify the candidate that will strengthen your board. For example, a board that is lacking a member with finance or accounting knowledge may want to focus only on candidates with a background in financing or accounting, such as a CPA.
Your not-for-profit’s future board members are out there. You just need to take the right steps so they can find you.