It’s three weeks before the AGM and suddenly there is a mad scramble to find some new board members. Posters are put up, anyone walking through the door is invited to join the committee and we could end up with a group of people that don’t really want to be there.
We keep hearing it is becoming harder to recruit people onto boards; however there are many examples of boards that always seem to operate with a full quota. Before you even begin to recruit new board members it is worth investing some time talking with current members to evaluate how you currently operate and devising a plan that will assist your board to attract the new members it requires.
How is your board perceived?
- · Are they a hidden away entity?
- · Do association members understand the role of the board?
- · Is the board seen as a one person/ one group show where a strong personality dominates the rest of the group?
- · Does the committee present a positive, cohesive image at events and the AGM?
How does your board operate?
- · Are decisions made based on the mission of the organisation?
- · Is everyone clear on the board’s role and their role as a board member?
- · Is everyone clear on the purpose of each board meeting?
- · Do meetings go on for hours without achieving decisions or decisive action?
- · Do members feel they can put forward an alternative opinion?
- · Does an atmosphere of enthusiasm and solidarity prevail?
- · Do you meet too often, at a time that precludes people, can members Skype in?
What experience and skills/ does your organisation require from board members?
- · Is everyone from a similar background and life experience?
- · What gaps exist in all aspects ranging from financial and legal to creativity and big picture thinking?
- · Is there a plan to identify and assist board members to gain or refresh their skills?
You can use this information to identify ways that you might make changes to make being a member of your board more attractive to prospective members. It also assists the people that are recruiting to truly believe that participating on the board is a genuinely positive experience.
If you really need some specific business skills there are several organisations such as Great Connections http://www.leadershipvictoria.org/great-connections/greatconnections where you can advertise for people with particular expertise. You might also find that advertising for particular skills or expertise might prompt your members to think of someone they know.
As stated above, it is important to encourage a mix of people so any publicity or recruiting needs to recognise that people do not have to come from a business background to make fantastic board members.
Other ways to attract new members:
- · People like to be asked in person
- · Ask with “positivity” not desperation
- · Put an ad in a service club newsletter
- · Advertise through a local volunteer agency
- · Offer childcare to assist parents to participate
- · Have a light dinner before the meeting so people can come straight from work
- · Encourage and promote the use of technology so people can participate without attending in person
What have you found successful?
*The term “board” has been used to cover the governing group of an organisation which may also be known as a committee.