How To Recruit New Board Members

With the new year approaching, many non-for-profit organizations are facing their Annual General Meeting and with that, changes to their Board of Directors. A strong board is the basis of every organization’s impact and success in the community. Having the right people with a variety of skills on board, will help your organization achieve its strategic goals.

These simple steps will help you form and maintain a strong and successful Board of Directors:

1 – Evaluate your current board: Recruiting new board members begins with assessing current board members’ skills and contributions: Are the current board members fulfilling their commitments?
Who will be leaving the board at the end if this term and which skills, experiences and qualities will then be missing?

2 – Evaluate your current situation: What challenges does your organization face and what qualities in a new board member could help the organization execute its short and long-term goals? For example, if the organization is struggling with its finances, you will want to look for someone with a strong financial background.

3 – Form a Board Nominating or Board Development Committee: Evaluating the current board and recruiting new board members should be a year-round process. It is recommended to form a small committee exclusively responsible for board development and future recruitment. It allows the Board of Directors to focus on their actual tasks, while this specific committee continuously focuses on the board’s performance and upcoming vacancies. The Nominating Committee may be a small mix of board chairs and members of the organization. Often, past board chairs sit on nominating committees, as they have a strong understanding of the organization. (You may consult with your staff members or your Executive Director about potential recruitment, if applicable, but do not involve them formally in the nomination process).

4 – Keep your members involved and in mind: Taking the position of a chair on the board is often a result of a long-term commitment in other areas of the organization. For example, look who has been sitting on sub-committees for years, helping to plan certain events, annual conferences or who is leading the organization’s Young Professional Group.

5 – Use a ‘Board Application Form’: Once you have potential candidates, have them fill out a simple Board Application Form. Ask them about relevant (work) experience, their qualities and skills and what they think they can contribute to the organization. Ask why they are interested in joining the board and if they are involved with other groups or in the community (also to avoid a conflict of interest with other organizations). General qualities like integrity, a certain time commitment, the ability to work within a team and the interest in your organization’s mission and goals should be a given.

6 – Invite the perfect candidates: Let the prospect candidate(s) participate in one of your board meetings. Introduce them to your directors, and let them be part of the rest of the board meeting. It will give them the chance to envision themselves on the board and get a feel for the group they would be part of.

7 – Help with the transition: Once a new director has joined the board, make sure that the previous chair sets aside some time to ‘train’ or lead the incoming director into their new role. Provide them with any materials that might be relevant to their new role on the board and offer continued support until their integration into the group and their new role is complete.

By Patricia Tait

How To Save Money For Your Not-For-Profit Association

Running an association economically is the key for succeeding as a not-for-profit. Here are 6 simple steps, that will help you reach your financial goals:

1. Utilize your board of directors to their fullest extent
Make sure to keep all directors involved in helping to raise money for the organization. Ask them to spread the word amongst their own contacts to bring new sponsors on board, find businesses to partner up with and recruit new members for your not-for-profit.

2. Keep your administration cost low
Choose an AMC (association management company) over an individual to run your organization on a fee-for-service basis. AMC’s offer a variety of services, and are able to customize their services to meet each of their clients’ needs.
ACM’s provide staff, software programs and tools to run not-for-profit organizations. They keep your administration cost low by using the same resources for multiple clients.

3. Use low-cost marketing and public-relations techniques
Promote your association’s events in free local newspapers providing relevant business information. Add your event to their online event calendar. Find local ad agencies to see if they will create public service announcements for not-for-profits, at low or no cost.

4. Save on meeting expenses
Hold your board meetings at the directors’ or your AMC’s offices. Each director who has a boardroom could take turns hosting and providing light refreshments. Schedule the meeting mid morning or mid afternoon to avoid extra expenses for lunches.
Hold committee meetings via conference calls – not only does it save you on rental, catering or travel coast, it also saves time for the the participant.

5. Save on event costs                                                                                                                       Choose the same venue for regularly reoccurring events of your association. You should be able to negotiate more reasonable rates by booking your events at the same location. It is a win-win situation: your association saves money and the venue is guaranteed regular business.

6. Stay informed about local corporations
Read newspapers for information about local corporations and businesses who might be a good fit for corporate donations or in-kind sponsorships and contributions.

By Patricia Tait, Account Manager at Spets Association Management