Assembling a supportive board is the most important thing one can do when setting up a nonprofit. While not always an easy task, spending time to find the right people will serve the organization in the long run.
As you may already know, asking someone to be on the board of a nonprofit is a big ask that also gives them power within the organization. Therefore, putting out an ask without proper research does not serve the mission long-term.
The process of finding board members typically includes an overview of the current board, an understanding of the ideal candidate, gathering strong referrals, research, and interviews. To help you begin your search, we have recommendations on how to find new board members!
Survey the Current Board
The first place to start when thinking about recruiting new board members is within your current board. They understand the role and responsibility that comes with the title, they understand who the ideal candidate/s is, and they have a network.
Have them think of possible leads within their personal and professional networks. Encourage them to consider who has a connection with your mission, who is engaged in philanthropy already, who may know someone that is connected to your mission, and more!
If they are having a hard time thinking of people, encourage them to scroll through their LinkedIn connections to help!
Engage your Current Network
Use your current network to develop leads and tap into those who already follow your mission, such as volunteers, staff, and donors or corporate sponsors that you have well-developed relationships with. It is recommended that you have a conversation with them first where you explicitly ask if there is anyone in their network that they would like to recommend. Lastly, we suggest sharing a description of the role and responsibilities that come with the position to ensure you receive exceptional candidates.
Once you have explored the prospects provided by your board members and other supporters, it is time to take the search outside of your immediate network! LinkedIn is a great tool to connect with professionals and can be used for board recruitment. Simply create an announcement on LinkedIn asking your supporters to refer anyone who they think would be a good fit and interested in the role.
Outreach Outside of your Network
It’s now time to reach beyond your current scope of prospects, volunteers, board members, and social supporters. Make a request to speak or give a presentation at mission-oriented groups, networking events, or communities that educate on nonprofit organizations or topics related to your mission to talk about your nonprofit and generate excitement among a new circle of potential supporters and recruits.
We know finding new board members can be difficult, but don’t rush the process just to add someone or get extra help. Instead, take the time to network, meet new people, and continue the search until you find the right candidate. After all, the board is a fundraising engine and networking catalyst to help govern and grow the nonprofit, so it is important that you find board members that understand their role, are passionate about the mission, and are driven to support the organization’s goals.