Strategies for Board Recruitment and Retention

chess piecesBoard recruitment and retention go hand-in-hand. When you recruit the right people, and nurture their talents, retaining them is easy. Read on for ways to recruit and retain the right people to fill your board’s empty seats.

Recruit the Right Board Member

1. Clearly Define Roles and Expectations 

Over promising and under delivering is the easiest way to gain unhappy and unproductive board members. Establish realistic expectations early in the interview process. Clearly define responsibilities, time commitment, role, legal and fiduciary duties and member benefits.

Then, with the right board portal, keep track of member-specific information, such as meeting attendance, responsibilities and skills. Run reports against this data to better understand member roles and engagement.

2. Have a Succession Plan

Don’t let your board fall into a place where it is desperate for a new member. Have a succession plan in place so your board is not left scrambling.

  • Document a contingency plan.
  • Plan for both board member and leadership succession.
  • Establish processes for onboarding and transitioning successors.

3. Weigh Characteristics

A resume should only take a candidate so far. After the candidate’s experience and expertise have been vetted, look to their character to determine if they will be a good fit. Desired characteristics will greatly vary by organization; however, many agree members should:

  • Be team players.
  • Be able to listen, analyze and think creatively.
  • Welcome feedback and criticism.
  • Have values that align with the organization’s goals and mission.

Retain Valuable Board Talent

Once you have selected the right people to represent your board, you must nurture their talents, and keep them happy and engaged. Members should feel valued, respected and that their contributions make a difference. This starts with onboarding and ends with the exit interview. Boards who do this well: 

The above strategies to recruit and retain key board members can be more readily implemented if you have the right technology in place. Board portals ensure information, expectations and feedback is organized and easily accessible.  

Is your board recruiting and retaining key board members? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

From a survey of almost 200 professionals, we found that sound board management leads to more engaged and effective nonprofit boards. Download our free report to learn more about the state of board engagement.

Image Source: Ken Teegardin via Flickr