Discovering Potential Board Members

It is a responsibility of the nonprofit’s board of directors is to ensure the organization has the necessary leadership to carry out the organization’s mission.  One way boards of directors fulfill this role is through recruiting new board members.

As board member terms expire, nonprofit boards recruit new board members to fill vacancies on the board.  Here are four strategies to discover new potential board members for your nonprofit organization:

Recommendations:  Ask for recommendations from current board members and staff at the nonprofit organization.  They may be aware of someone who may be a great match for a board position vacancy.  Past leaders of the organization might also have some input of people they know who may be good candidates for the board of directors. Also, talk to the organization’s program staff, perhaps they know of someone who would be ideal for a board position who either benefited from the organization’s services or had a family member who received services.

Emerging Leaders: There are many young professional (YP) organizations throughout the country, and they are a great resource for engaging emerging leaders into your organization.  Search the listing that Next Generation Consulting has compiled of local Young Professionals organizations.  Reach out to your local YP group to see how you can best connect with their members who may be interested in joining your board.  Further, many Chamber of Commerce organizations have leadership development programs for business professionals. Identify your local chamber of commerce and ask them if they have a leadership program. Connecting with leadership program graduates can give you some great prospects for future board members.

Current Donors:  Take some time to look through your donor database to discover potential board members. Individuals who make donations to the organization are already investing in the organization financially, so consider if any of those donors may also be in a position to join the board of directors.  Their financial donations are a sign of their support for the organization’s mission, and those donors are great prospects to take a leadership role on the organization’s board of directors.

Current Volunteers:  Board members at nonprofit organizations are volunteers donating their time to lead the organization.  Be sure to not overlook current volunteers who may be in a position to step up into a board role.  Consider individuals already volunteering on committees or in another capacity within your organization.  To identify volunteers outside of your organization, consider connecting with a volunteer center. The Points of Light Foundation has a listing of action centers on their website you can connect with to identify community volunteers.

Whether you are on a nonprofit board or a staff member, invest the time to discover potential board members who will be champions for your organization’s mission. Through gathering recommendations, identifying emerging leaders, engaging donors, and involving current volunteers, you will discover outstanding future board members for your organization.

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Related Posts:
Are you ensuring you have the right board on board?
What to know before you join a nonprofit board
Steps towards board leadership


About Dr. Sarah Wolin Mackey

Putting theory into practice at nonprofit organizations.
This entry was posted in Board of Directors, Nonprofit Management, Volunteer and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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