We were discussing new board members. And the need to start now to think about board member additions for 2017 clearly overwhelmed her.
Yup, and maybe that’s why you are frustrated by your board’s engagement in their work I said.
Your nominating process is the most important function of your organization.
- It determines your future.
- It determines your success.
- And it determines how much sleep you get at night!
Just like the pros, you are recruiting. And you want the best available.
Does this sound familiar?
Three positions are open for next year. At the October board meeting you ask for suggestions. Dead silence. Finally, four names are put forth. Friends suggesting their friends. Assignments are made to contact them. Reports back at the November meeting confirm there are three willing to accept. They are approved in December and start in January.
That election is rigged.
Ideally, you seek folks already serving you in some way. They have some knowledge of your organization and you know something about them. If you don’t have them now, start building some committee members with this in mind.
But the real world isn’t always ideal. So here are some suggestions to improve the process.
- Identify the expertise you need to strengthen your board at the first of the year and tell your board members.
- Engage the nominating committee to identify candidates and ask them to discuss your work with those on your prospective board member list [identified above by areas of expertise] now.
- Invite interested candidates to visit committees or meet with staff.
- Provide a board job description.
- Discuss time commitments and meeting schedules.
- Nominating committee meets 4 to 6 months before board vote to prepare slate for board discussion and vote.
This process should make nominating an on-going activity that provides a steady flow of potential board members.
Don’t rig your elections by leaving it to the last minute. The results will be unsatisfying to you and to your new members.
For more nonprofit administration and management tips, as well as nonprofit funding and endowment development, subscribe to Endowment Development Institute's Newsletter here.