How Does Board Recruitment Happen in Your Organization?

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Imagine your “dream board member”.

Do you find it easy to attract that kind of person?
Or is it a challenge to find highly skilled, committed and high-performing board members?

Recently, an Executive Director told me she'd been successful in recruiting three new board members. She described these individuals as the perfect fit to take her organization “to the next level”.

Curious, I asked, "how did you find them?

She explained that what seemed like a sudden success had actually started months earlier; when her board recognized they lacked the expertise required to effectively tackle a number of critical governance issues. Rather than struggle through on their own, each board member agreed to engage an “expert” to attend one board meeting in order to advise and educate them. Over a few months, these experts worked with the board in a voluntary capacity to examine a number of issues and make strategic decisions.

According to the Executive Director, this process significantly broadened the perspective of the board - allowing them to be more visionary. Board members gained knowledge and increased confidence to execute their governance role with excellence. And - they had “proof” that high-level talent was available to them - in the form of knowledge philanthropists.

Their next step was to explore how to engage this talent in governance roles. The Executive Director and board worked together to identify the talent they wanted at the board level. They drafted clear and creative role descriptions for all board members (current and future). They defined the required deliverables for board members AND the skills/expertise required to achieve them.

"Suddenly" the organization found what they were looking for - in abundance. Three new board members; representing a 60% increase in talent as the board grew from five directors to eight.

Seeking more tips and tools on board recruitment? Vantage Point’s Board Engagement Pack is available online. It’s full of templates and examples, including board role descriptions with clear deliverables and desired board member attributes.

About the Author

Annastasia Forst contributed her creative and analytic work ethic (not an oxymoron) to Vantage Point as a past Director of Learning. She is passionate about working with many talented knowledge philanthropists to develop, deliver and evaluate Vantage Point’s board and executive leadership...

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