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Fresh Recruits for the Nonprofit Board

Why is it so hard to find fresh new bodies to serve on the nonprofit board?  I don’t get it. Maybe it’s

  • The Work. It takes some time and effort to think through a. what we got and b. what we need
  • Meet and Greet. The CEO and select members of the current board need to spend some time networking and flushing out some worthy candidates.
  • What’s Our Story? When you head out to network, you want to have your story: what makes your mission sing for folks. Knowing “what” you’re looking for: the skills, the networked individuals.
  • Assess and Recess. Get a read on the prospect(s) you’re talking to: gauge for interest. Listen for connections. Then convene your team to talk about the talent you’ve met and who’s worth following up.

I’m in the midst of a project with a great New Hampshire nonprofit right now. Last night, I sat with the Governance Committee and we used the Board Profiling Grid from BoardSource. We spent about an hour talking about how each individual fit the grid, particularly focusing on Community Connections and Areas of Expertise.  The committee came away with a list of eight categories to work on. Next we’ll seek some networking interviews in the community and start to build a prospect roster.  We’re working this step-by-step. And, you know what?  Based on past experience, I think we’ll uncover some real gems in their neighborhood who just need to be approached the right way.

When the CEO and a board member sits to talk with a prospect, it’ll be:

  • Mostly listening: Is the person connected?  Does the person have networks?  Do we hear a connection with our mission?
  • Finding a fit: looking for cues and clues that can affirm the mission connection we’re looking for.
  • We’ll get back to you: The nonprofit leaders will definitely not come across as desperate, needy, begging, making promises they cannot keep. Ask for the resume and…”we’ll get back to you!”
  • Fear of Fundraising: Is the prospect willing to work at raising resources for our nonprofit?

We’re offering a highly desirable opportunity to join a special group who make the mission happen.

Shoot me an e-mail if you want to shmooze: s.p.99smith@gmail.com.

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