Look within first to identify Who’s Best for Your Organization
Steps to assess your current board
- List current board member names
- List the dates of each member’s term
- List their professional sector
- Note their areas of strength on the board
- Review the list to identify gaps
- Fill gaps with new individuals who bring relationships and skills to help fulfill your mission (Click to read three board member perspectives.)
The first in a three-part series
Today’s blog is the first in a three-part series on how to identify and attract the best board members to your organization.
Click Here to watch my video, How to Attract and Keep Your Best Board Members.
Start by assessing your current board so you can be intentional in filling gaps in board representation. Each board member represents relationships which can be key to your mission.
As a fundraising consultant and seasoned non-profit leader, I recommend that you use these steps to build a reference chart that will visually highlight where you have opportunities to identify new talent and energy.
You may be tempted to start with a nominating committee meeting or with a call to your board chairman to get her thoughts.
Instead, take time to build this easy chart:
1. List current board member names, alphabetically. If you’re using Excel, creating separate columns for first and last name helps you sort more easily.
2. Beside each name, list the year in which their term ends.
3. Next, note their professional sector. For example, you may have clergy, real estate, small business owner, insurance agent, retired investment banker, etc.
The goal here is to diversify the professional sectors and expertise of your board. Each sector represents relationships that can strengthen your mission.
4. In the next column, list the area of your organization where the member makes a positive contribution. Limit this to one or two areas.
Beside one name, for example, you may have “special events and strategy” while beside another you may list “fundraising and property committee.” Again, your goal is to identify areas of need that a new board member could possibly fill.
Depending on your organization’s goals, you may choose to add additional columns to assess diversity, capacity, neighborhood, or other board service. Organizational depth and breadth are expanded by a board that includes unique talents and experiences.
Review the chart for accuracy.
Now, it’s time to begin the hard work of identifying nominees to provide strengths where your work has identified needs.
Next week, I will discuss how to engage your board during the nomination process and how to be successful in making the board ask. (As I wrote for the Savannah Morning News, Who Asks Whom Matters!)
PS: If you haven’t looked at your by-laws lately, now is the time. By-laws often define term limits, specify any professions that must be represented on the board, and establish the maximum number of board members allowed.
Want a professional perspective on your project? Contact Phoenicia.
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