Finding new board members is one of the toughest challenges that a board can have. This is especially true if you are a non-profit or not-for-profit board that doesn’t compensate directors. Some organizations have actually kept board seats open for over a year, and others have asked past directors to come back and serve on the board again while they try to find new board members.
So, if you are struggling to find new board members, you are not alone! But what should you do if you have an open seat on your board? Well, today I am going to give you ten strategies that you could try to help you find new board members. Keep reading below or watch the video above to learn these ten strategies!
The Ten Strategies to find New Board Members!
1. Advertise the search on your website.
Typically there is a place on your organization’s websites for announcements or press releases. Putting an announcement on your organization’s website will allow the public to see it and allow more people to become interested!
2. Ask your current directors for names.
When asking current directors for names, you need to be mindful of the diversity and makeup of the board. You don’t want to get too many people from the same organization on the board, or too many people with the same skills. However, current board members are a great source of knowing other people who might be interested in becoming a board member.
3. Form a recruiting or search committee.
The function of this committee would be to help you find potential board members for the future.
4. Ask the CEO or executive director for potential names of board members.
This strategy may be a bit controversial, but I think it can be effective. Similar to asking the current directors for names, you need to be mindful of cliques forming on the board and it becoming too homogenized. Regardless of who is supplying names of potential board members, make sure they are appropriately vetted for the position.
5. Hold a director job fair.
Now, I know this may sound like a unique idea, but I have heard great success stories about organizations holding director job fairs! So what do I mean by holding a director job fair? Typically the organization would advertise a director job fair and then open up their space to the public so anyone who is interested in being on the board could come and learn more. Usually, the current directors would be there so the potential board members could ask them questions about what it is like being on the board. Then, after the job fair, you are left with a list of potential directors that you can vet further and hopefully add them to the board when a seat is open.
6. Announce that you are looking for new board members on social media.
I hear a lot about how organizations want to get younger people involved on the board. Posting on your organization’s social media channels that you are looking for new board members is a great way to reach the younger demographic.
7. Encourage volunteers from other committees to become board members.
If your organization has volunteers from the community on different committees, try to encourage some of those people to apply for the position on the board. It is a plus, since they already know your organization quite well, and people already are familiar with them within the organization.
8. Use a targeted mail campaign.
If you have a formal board succession plan, take a look at the competencies that you are looking for in your new board members. Then, think about what companies may have people that fit those competencies. Next, you can send a formal letter from the board of directors to the company asking if any of their executives would be interested in being on the board.
9. Do a search on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a professional social media channel that is a great tool to use when looking for new board members. You can search for specific competencies, skills, or past experiences (including previous board service).
10. Use a search firm.
People commonly think that search firms are generally used for executive positions, but more and more I am seeing people utilizing search firms when they have trouble filling a board seat.
What else can you do?
In addition to trying those ten strategies, you always need to be thinking about board succession planning. So, what else can you do to ensure that your search for new board members is as easy as possible?
- Make sure you are picking the competencies that you want represented on your board and figuring out where you have gaps.
- Anticipate when people are going to be leaving the board.
- Always be on the lookout for new board members.
Check out how SUCCESSIONapp® can help you create a succession plan for your board of directors. Also, how ready do you think you are for board turnover? Take our free 60-second quiz below and find out what your board readiness score is!