Building a Better Board Bullpen

Finding exceptional board members has been a challenge for nonprofits since before the time giant reptiles roamed the earth freely. A quick Google search reveals a large number of organizations and services dedicated to helping nonprofits find and recruit board members. And of course current board members, business associates and peers can also provide a network of potential board members. Even the professional networking giant LinkedIn has decided to play Yenta by launching a program specifically for matching talented people to nonprofits boards.

With all these services at your disposal, your nonprofit may feel better-equipped to start the process of finding their next board member. But now the focus shifts to other questions. When should a nonprofit look for board members? And what should they do once they start identifying a pool of good ones?

The answer to the question when to look for qualified board members is a resounding NOW. Many experts caution organizations to be proactive in their search and recruitment process. At the end of the day it’s a great problem to have too many qualified candidates in the queue than to have to scramble at the last moment to find someone. This queue, or bullpen of potential members is generally seen as a good idea, but it seems that few organizations have one in place. This is where a board portal comes in handy.

How a Board Portal Can Help

Board portals are known for meeting and document management functionality, but perhaps less so for their member management capabilities. The member management section is the perfect place to create and manage the board member bullpen. bullpen

Creating user profiles for current board members is a no brainer. But creating profiles for members your organization is scouting can save a lot of time and frustration when the time comes to elect new leadership volunteers. Board portals with robust member profile functionality can be used to capture key data about a member’s skills, background and strengths, as well as notes and information about why the organization thinks they’re a good fit. As good candidates surface it only takes a few minutes to add their information to the board portal. And when it comes time to find a new or replacement member, the organizational administrator can simply run a report of possible candidates and filter the search results by desired criteria such area of expertise or demographic information.