July 07, 2008

How to Recruit Board Members

Nonprofit boards waste too much time fantasizing about the ideal board member, writes Kelly Kleiman on her blog The Nonprofiteer.

“What’s the point of identifying a desired outcome (‘Someone wealthy, with lots of connections, who’s eager to do fund raising’) if there’s no way to accomplish the outcome?” she says.

Ms. Kleiman, a former lawyer and journalist, says that a board should instead identify people they know — not “hypothetical constructs” — who might be interested in supporting their charity. Next, they should determine how well those peoples’ skills stack up against a list of concrete tasks they need board members to accomplish.

Then, she says, “Go talk to those people!”

“Board recruitment is nothing more than stating the case for an institution you love to people who will be prepared to do the same thing,” writes Ms. Kleiman. “Let’s stop complicating it, and preparing for it, and just get out there and do it.”

Do you have any tips to share on recruiting board members? Let us know by clicking on the comment link.