The Board Development Section includes information about board development, board selection grid and other resources.
Nonprofits with strong, effective boards do better in almost all areas. However, building such a board can be a challenge. Nonprofits should focus on taking the following steps on an ongoing basis, to recruit, sustain and maintain a strong board.
- Ensure that the agency programs and services are strong, effective and well respected. It is much easier to recruit to excellent programs. Get program outcome information and use it in recruitment.
- Develop a board recruitment matrix (see our example). Use the matrix to identify skills needed. Identify a diverse small pool of potential board members for each skill area. Recruit to the skills.
- Ensure that the organization has board orientation and training. Link new board members with those that have been around for awhile. Have assignment options ready for new board members to consider.
- Make board meetings effective. Stay on task and on time. Ensure that work is done in advance of the board meeting, and reported. Provide written information in advance. Make sure board members have ‘something to come for.’ And, ensure that board meetings are at the same time each month (or bi-monthly, quarterly).
- Committees can feed the board. They can be a critical area for recruitment. Make sure committees are led by board members who are efficient and effective, with good people skills.
- Work with the board leadership to make sure each board member is contacted during the year, asked for feedback and suggestions.
- Stay on top of board development with a succession plan. Identify when different officers will rotate off, and who replacements might be. Too often, the replacement issue is considered a month or two before nominations and elections. Have a board member in charge of this, working with a committee.
By working with your board to strengthen its governance structure, you create a more sustainable nonprofit. Board development should always be a priority.
Anne Hays Egan