Finding the Right Board Members

An ongoing problem many nonprofit organizations face is finding quality board members. For a large number of us, this ranks only behind fundraising as the biggest thorn in our side. Finding the time to recruit people is tough, not to mention knowing where to look for them. The most common initial step in identifying potential board members starts with our current board. It’s simple – we ask them who they know. The problem in many cases is that within a few minutes that discussion comes to a dead end. Now we’re faced with squeezing “find board members” onto our already packed to-do list. We see there’s a Chamber of Commerce mixer next week followed by a Rotary meeting the following Wednesday. Maybe I can ask my CPA if she knows someone. I think I’ll approach the guy across the street who owns a print shop. Maybe he can donate copies…yay!

Let’s face it, a lot of us probably daydream of having an entire group of people who are passionate about our mission, willing to open doors for fundraising opportunities, are seasoned professionals within their industries, have personal capacity to give, and bring a deep and connected network to the table. We see other organizations with these rock stars and you wonder, “How can I get in on that action?” The Chamber mixer or Rotary meeting is not the answer.

There are options available to help organizations recruit board members. These resources can provide a range of people from entry-level to Fortune 500 executives. The following is a short list of the most popular:

Idealist, BoardNetUSA and VolunteerMatch are all online volunteer recruitment sites that allow organizations to post board opportunities. If you’re looking to add entry-level board members including those recently out of college and new to the workforce, who can lend their time and talent such as social media know-how, then these resources may be for you. They are free and can reach a large audience relatively easily.

If you want high-level and influential executives, Board Member Connect is another option to consider. They are the leading nonprofit board placement service in the country, bringing together C-suite executives with nonprofits looking to fill seats on their board of directors.

Their service is specifically designed for elite organizations needing to fill a specific gap as well as those ready to raise the overall level of their current board. With a 100% placement rate since 2010, Board Member Connect is a top choice when it comes to helping fill board seats.

The strongest nonprofit organizations today have one common thread. They each possess an engaged and committed board that can open doors and help transform the organization into a sustainable one. Finding these gems can be difficult but not impossible if you know where to look.

David Lewis is the Founder and President of Board Member Connect, the nation’s leading nonprofit board search firm.

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