Many nonprofit boards are so busy that they neglect to do a professional job recruiting new members. This critical task is not as difficult as you may think if you assign the task to your Board Development Committee, focus on the skills you need to round out your board, and start your search early.
Here are eleven creative ways to look for new board members for your organization:
1. Post your board openings on volunteer web sites.
2. Post your board openings on your organization’s web site.
3. Talk to ex-board members and ask them to suggest candidates.
4. Put an ad in the newspaper – or in your newsletter.
5. Create a continuous pool of board candidates from your volunteers and committee members who are not already on your board. These two groups can become your feeder team for new board members.
6. Post a sign in your lobby and give your Board Development Chairperson’s contact information.
7. Send out an e-mail to your members with the qualifications you are seeking.
8. Contact the Human Resources Department of local lawyer and accounting offices asking if any of their partners or employees have a particular interest in your clients or the programs you offer.
9. Contact a college or university department that is related to your organization’s mission. Ask the department administrator to e-mail your request for new board members to members of the department or post it in department offices.
10. Create a system to follow-up on every promising lead.
11. Ask your major donors to attend a coffee or lunch meeting to brainstorm with you to create a list of possible board members who meet this year’s search criteria.
Remember, not everyone is interested in being on a board. If your search turns up people who could become enthusiastic advocates of your organization but they don’t want to join a board, perhaps they could join a board committee, be on an advisory board, or work on one of your events.