There’s nothing like a pandemic to get nonprofits thinking more intentionally about who they need to lead the organization. I guess that’s one positive thing we can take from 2020.
Whether your board is too small, too unfocused, has too many gaps in expertise, isn’t fully engaged or whatnot, I’m going to keep this simple.
It’s not as complicated as you may think.
These 3 steps will go a long way to keep you sane while you expand to a stronger board:
1. Set goals. When you answer these questions up front, it will be clear to all board members what you need to accomplish, why and by when.
- Who? Review your strategic plan and then ask what kind of people do we need to reach your goals? Certain subject matter experts? Leadership skills? More diverse perspectives? Do you have geographic considerations? If you need me to help walk you through this, let me know.
- How Many by When? How many seats are you filling and what’s the deadline? Then you can reverse engineer your action steps by moving backwards from that date?
2. Source it. Go big! Think about how you source candidates when you hire staff. You post it widely and you also are proactive about searching out candidates from relevant circles.
Too often we only count on current staff and board members to leverage their connections and then we’re disappointed when we can’t find candidates that match up well with our needs.
- So carefully research your database for donors, volunteers, subscribers, etc. who may match your needs
- Use LinkedIN to search, using filters to identify potential candidates. Volunteer Match is a solid option too.
- Do some outreach to professional associations depending on what your needs are. You cannot be passive and expect board members to drop in your lap.
3. Interview them. Just because board candidates look good on paper, doesn’t mean they are the best match for your organization. While they may have that expertise you need, they might not play nice in the sandbox.
Or they may just want to pad their resumé without being able to fully engage. Or they may not add a diverse perspective.
The time you take to ask thoughtful questions, get to know them and give them a chance to ask their questions (you can learn a lot by what they ask and what they don’t!) will lead to better decisions.
Now, you can rush though a process that just fills some seats with people you know. It might work out.
But have you ever looked back and thought…..hmmmm…..had we just been a bit more strategic and intentional we could have a much stronger board?
Let’s avoid the frustration. Give me a call to help you get started so you don’t waste any more time and energy.