Recruiting and engaging a strong, active, focused nonprofit board of directors may be challenging for some organizations. But focusing on the benefits to board members, versus your own wants and needs, will provide a better chance of recruiting and keeping engaged board members.
Why should they dedicate their time, talent, and money to your organization? What’s in it for them? Here are some possible reasons:
- They have an emotional connection to your cause
- They have a desire to make an impact
- They are philanthropic and heart-centered
- They are looking for recognition
- They want to add the title to their résumé
- They are looking for connections
- They have a skillset and want to give back
Too often, nonprofit organizations take a willing participant, rather than designing a clear vision of the individual who would best serve their board and create the biggest impact on the community they serve. Having a clear picture of what you are looking for in a board member will aid in the attraction of the perfect fit.
What type of board member do you want to attract and why? Describe your ideal board member. Then create a culture within your organization that connects, collaborates, and celebrates to attract the board members you desire.
Create a Culture that Connects
Start by creating and connecting to a clear vision and mission for your organization. Communicate a vision that your team embraces, understands, and can articulate with emotion.
Some people will join your board because they connect with your vision and mission. They believe in your cause, or they have an emotional connection or experience which draws them in. Others will want to connect their skillset to a need in your organization, such as fundraising, budgeting, event planning, etc. Some will join your team to be connected to others who are making a difference.
Ask potential board members what connects them to your movement or cause, and make sure that it aligns with your description of the ideal board member.
Create a Culture that Collaborates
Encourage communication, creative solutions, brainstorming, and teamwork for an atmosphere of collaboration. Spend some time getting to know one another and the talents, abilities, gifts, and skills each person brings to the team. Identifying roles and responsibilities for board members, based on their skillset and talents, will give them direction and a clear understanding of what is expected. Setting team goals, action items, and accountability will ensure the nonprofit is making a significant impact on the people it serves.
Board members will want to see progress and measurable results from meeting to meeting. This collaborative effort will encourage engagement, participation, and action from all members of the board and will keep them invested in your cause and serving on your board.
Create a Culture that Celebrates
People love to feel appreciated and celebrated. Those who serve on boards or nonprofit teams are often overworked and underrecognized. To create a culture of celebration within your organization, learn why individuals joined you and your cause. What motivated them? Once you know that, you can provide the necessary reinforcement and celebration to keep them coming back.
For instance, if one of your board members desires new connections, invite them to events and fundraisers where people are connecting and networking. If a board member has an emotional connection to your cause, you may ask them to share their story at an event, a promotional video, or podcast, and celebrate their story. If someone worthy is looking for recognition, you may come up with a Board Member Award or Certificate and recognize them at an event.
Here are some ways to create a culture of celebration:
- Awards, recognition, and testimonials
- Notes and gifts of appreciation
- Parties and events
- Humor and fun
By understanding why someone wants to be on your board, and connecting, collaborating, and celebrating the person in ways that will benefit them, nonprofits can attract and retain valuable individuals on their boards.
Jewels Muller is a wife, mother, and CEO of Chicks Connect Mastermind Support Network. The Muller family has been traveling fulltime in their RV for over 6 years sharing the Chicks Connect Movement, Empowering Women to Empower the World! Click https://chicksconnect.com/ for membership information.
This article is reprinted from Issue #10 of Nonprofit Performance Magazine. Subscribe today so that you won’t miss other actionable articles that will help you run your nonprofit organization with less pain and more gain!
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