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
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
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
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,
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
For the Category of Boards of Directors:
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