Nonprofits have long been challenged by unmet expectations in board member engagement and performance.

The latest research from BoardSource reinforces the prevalence of this issue. Leading With Intent: 2017 National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices reports that a high percentage of nonprofits experience difficulty with successful board recruitment. The analysis also identifies other board needs, such as increased diversity, more strategic thinking, and a higher level of engagement in advocacy.

Recruiting success starts with this intentional process: Identify the what, and then identify the who. Nonprofits must commit to an ongoing board recruitment process so that prospects are continually being identified and vetted for future vacancies. This helps avoid the take-what-you-can-get approach that is certain to produce a hot mess of frustration.

Determine what your board needs in terms of skills, experience, expertise, diversity, etc. Then build and maintain a list of potentials comprising referrals from existing board members. Consider current donors and active volunteers to be viable possibilities. Take advantage of online search tools to seek out key background information that will indicate interest, ability, and experience. Be on alert for new names not yet showing up on other organizations’ board lists.

Committing to and taking action on a process will increase your recruiting success — a success that includes getting board members who will be invested in making a difference.

Read the full article about strategic recruitment of board members by Hardy Smith at BoardSource.