Board recruitment may not seem as important as securing funding or filling paid positions, but your board members can have a big impact on the success of your organization. How do you convince someone to dedicate the time, effort, and resources to your nonprofit when there’s no paycheck involved? It’s all about building an appealing culture, getting buy-in, and keeping your pro bono board members happy.
Start by knowing exactly what you need from your board. What skills, talents, and resources can make it easier to win at your organization’s mission? If you need more funding, hook up with a well-connected philanthropist who’s been through a fundraiser campaign or two. Is community involvement where you’re lacking? Hit up local celebrities or community leaders who can rally the troops. Diversity in your board member choices gives you a wider perspective. Don’t be afraid to call on someone who benefits from your type of nonprofit. An organization working to prevent sexual abuse can greatly benefit from a board member who has experienced sexual abuse.
Go directly to people who fit the profile. There’s nothing like a little flattery about just how talented people are to convince them your nonprofit board is where they should spend their time. Not sure who to ask? Look to your current board members for suggestions, or use social media to your advantage when choosing your board.
Once you convince your dream team of volunteers that board compensation is overrated, focus on keeping them happy even if they aren’t rolling the dough. Let your board put their talents to use by actually using their ideas. Show them how much impact they have by sharing the results when you put their suggestions into action. Effective communication is an important part of keeping the board engaged.
While the majority of nonprofit boards members work on a voluntary basis, it is acceptable to offer financial board compensation for their efforts. Reporting guidelines apply in those situations. Review your organization’s budget to see if compensation is a possibility to convince the most talented members to join your board.
If you create a culture that values board members, gives them a say, and shows appreciation for hard work, you may be surprised at how willing people are to step up to the plate.