Guidelines for Recruiting New Board Members

© Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD

The following guidelines should be modified as necessary to conform to the particular culture and purpose of the organization.

It's very important to keep the perspective that your board deserves highly skilled and participative board members. Don't erode your goals and believe that you are lucky to get anyone at all.

When you set out to recruit new members, the most important consideration is know what kind of skills are currently needed by the board. Consider the nature of issues and goals currently faced by the organization, for example, if you're struggling with finances then seek a member with strong financial skills. It's highly useful to use a Sample Board Recruitment Grid.

1. Maintain an up-to-date list of potential board candidates, including the particular skills they can bring to the organization. This is often done by the Nominating Committee or the Board Development Committee.

2. Develop a Sample Board Application Form for prospective new board members. The form should solicit information about the potential new member, including biographical information, why they want to join this board, what they hope to bring to the board, what they would like to get from their board membership and any questions they might have.

3. Per any scheduling in the By-laws and/or after strategic planning, reference major strategic goals for the organization and the chief executive to identify what skills would be highly useful to the board, e.g., if new people will be hired, the board may desire people with human resource skills, etc.

4. Reference the list of potential candidates to recruit for board membership and ask to meet with them.

5. Prospective board members should meet with the board chair and the chief executive, hear an overview of the organization and receive relevant organizational materials describing the organization's products or services, receive a board member job description and a board member application form. The prospective new member should hear about how the organization orients new members. Provide names of several board members whom the prospective new member might contact with any questions.

7. Identify if there are any potential conflicts of interest with the candidate, e.g., is he or she on the board of a competing organization, a vendor of the organization, etc.

8. Invite the prospective new member to a board meeting. Notify current board members that a potential new member will be attending. Consider name tags to help the potential new member be acquainted with board members. Introduce the member right away in the meeting and, at the end of the meeting, ask the potential new member if they have any questions. Thank them for coming.

9. Shortly after the meeting, call the prospective new member to hear if they want to apply for joining the board or not. If so, solicit their completed board member application and provide all applications to the board for their review and election.

10. Notify new members (those who have been elected) and invite them to subsequent board meetings and the board orientation.

See the following link that explains what a potential board member should consider before joining a board
Considerations before joining a board


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For the Category of Boards of Directors:

To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.

Related Library Topics

Recommended Books

For-Profit ("Corporate") Boards of Directors

Nonprofit Boards of Directors



For-Profit ("Corporate") Boards of Directors

Leadership and Supervision in Business - Book Cover Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision in Business
by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Provides step-by-step, highly practical guidelines to recruit, utilize and evaluate the best employees for your business. Includes guidelines to effectively lead yourself (as Board member or employee), other individuals, groups and organizations. Includes guidelines to avoid burnout -- a very common problem among employees of small businesses. Many materials in this Library are adapted from this book.

NOTE: This is one of the few books that's all about leadership AND how to effectively work with a corporate (for-profit) Board.

The following books are recommended because of their highly practical nature and often because they include a wide range of information about this Library topic. To get more information about each book, just click on the image of the book. Also, a "bubble" of information might be displayed. You can click on the title of the book in that bubble to get more information, too.



Nonprofit Boards of Directors

Developing, Operating and Restoring Your Nonprofit Board - Book Cover Field Guide to Developing, Operating and Restoring Your Nonprofit Board
by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Provides step-by-step, highly practical guidelines to organize, operate and sustain high-quality nonprofit Boards -- and to fix a broken Board! Includes variety of Board models you can choose from, roles and responsibilities, how to get the best members, how to train and organize them, goals for standard committees, ensuring high-quality meetings, evaluating Boards, how to evaluate and/or replace the Executive Director, and much more! Includes many sample Board policies you can download! Written by the developer of the Free Management Library. Many materials in this Library's topic about Boards are adapted from this book. 30-day, money-back, guarantee!
Leadership and Supervision With Nonprofit Staff - Book Cover Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision With Nonprofit Staff
by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Provides step-by-step, highly practical guidelines to recruit, utilize and evaluate the best staff members for your nonprofit. Includes guidelines to effectively lead yourself (as Board member or staff member), other individuals, groups and organizations. Includes guidelines to avoid burnout -- a very common problem among nonprofit staff. Written by the developer of the Free Management Library. Many materials in this Library are adapted from this book.

This is one of the few books that's all about leadership AND how to effectively work with a nonprofit Board.
Consulting and Organization Development With Nonprofits - Book Cover Field Guide to Consulting and Organizational Development With Nonprofits
by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Provides complete, step-by-step guidelines to identify complex issues in nonprofit organizations and successfully resolve each of them. This book is also helpful to organizations that are doing fine now, but want to evolve to the next level of performance. This is one of the truly comprehensive, yet practical, books about this complex subject! Includes online forms that can be downloaded. Written by the developer of the Free Management Library. Many materials in this Library's topic about guiding change are adapted from this comprehensive book. 30-day, money-back, guarantee!
Nonprofit Strategic Planning and Facilitation - Book Cover Field Guide to Nonprofit Strategic Planning and Facilitation
by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Step-by-step guidelines to customize and facilitate planners to implement the best strategic planning process to suit the particular nature and needs of their nonprofit. This is one of the few books, if any, that explains how to actually facilitate planning. Includes many online forms that can be downloaded and used by planners. Written by the developer of the Free Management Library. Many materials in this Library's topic about strategic planning are adapted from this book. 30-day, money-back, guarantee!

For Nonprofits, Also See

Strategic Planning -- Recommended Books

Social Entrepreneurship (Nonprofit) -- Recommended Books

Capacity Building (Nonprofit) -- Recommended Books

Fundraising -- Recommended Books

Program Management -- Recommended Books

Leading -- Recommended Books

Training and Development -- Recommended Books

Volunteers -- Recommended Books






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