Kent, has been helping nonprofit boards with governance issues of various natures during his long career as a respected consultant to charities. His book covers 17 key areas of board governance including one of the trickiest ones, recruiting top-notch board members.
He revealed this secret early on during his presentation. Having served on numerous board recruitment committees, I was listening intently to see what our committee might have been missing.
The secret was so simple and yet so elegant it made complete and total sense to me.
Recruit only Board Members Who Could Serve as Board Chairs
Think about it. If your board chairman needs to have all or most of the following qualities then imagine what having every board member with these qualities would mean. Here are several of the qualities mentioned:
- Strong Passion for the Mission
- Natural Leader
- Abundant Financial Assets
- Understands Charity Governance
- Can Allocate Time Needed
- Experience as a Leader Elsewhere
- Has Specific Talents Needed
Most every charity board would be delighted to have anyone as board chairman, let alone a brand new board member with the majority of the qualities listed above.
If the above secret to board recruitment makes so much sense to everyone reading this blog post, then why is it not more common?
The answer is…
Recruiting Just Potential Board Chairs is Not Easy!
Most individuals with all or most of these qualities are in high demand and can be very selective in where they serve by their very nature. This means a much wider recruiting effort complete with more in-depth research is required to even find a few of these somewhat rare individuals.
Even after finding them there is often an extended period of relationship building in order for the quality listed first, namely Strong Passion for the Mission to be developed and nurtured to the level needed for a board chair.
Only the finest of board recruitment committees will have the members dedicated enough to go the extra mile to find and draw into the fold the number of possible board chairs to staff the entire board over time.
Let’s hope your board makes such a commitment with its future recruiting efforts. I know I am now going to strive for that with all of the boards I serve on by bring this secret up at an upcoming board meeting.
How about you?