5 Ways To Ensure A Non-Profit Board Candidate A Good Choice

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    It often isn’t hard to find candidates for non-profit board seats. However, how do you know that they are the right candidate for the job? It’s important to prescreen your candidates to make sure you are getting ones that understand the role of a board member and understand how to work efficiently and effectively as a board member.

    There are ways that you can use to screen candidates to ensure they are the right person to sit on your non-profit’s board of directors. They are:

    • Put out a call for resumes – Always ask to see the resumes of your potential board members. You need to know their experience and what they bring to the table. Also if someone is unwilling to provide a resume, then they probably aren’t good board material.
    • Interview candidates – Candidates for your board should be interviewed to get a feel for how they will fit into the existing Board of Director’s culture. Your nominating committee should handle this task and perform it in a very professional manner. Provide candidates with board scenarios and see how they handle the situation. This is a take on behavioural interviewing.
    • Survey potential board members – By surveying them, you can ask more questions like who their contacts are and how they envision themselves contributing to the organization as a member of the board. You can also ask questions about what skill sets they bring to the table that may be beneficial to the organization in areas such as professional development and fundraising.
    • Request references – In the case of board of directors is the only time that it would be smart to request both professional and personal references. By doing this, you get a feel for who this person is on both a professional level and on a personal level, which will help you in identifying how the candidate will blend with the existing personalities on your board.
    • Don’t be afraid to turn people away – By turning away candidates that don’t fulfill the criteria that you have developed for this particular board member, you are ensuring that you get only the best candidates accepted onto the board. The more screening you do, the more success you will have at creating a successful board and the more people will want to be a part of it.

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    For more resources, see our Library topic Nonprofit Capacity Building.

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    By Ingrid Zacharias, Managing Director, Envisioning the Future International, Email: izacharias@envisioningthefutureintl.ca Website: http://envisioningthefutureintl.ca/