This is a process, lead by a board committee, which expands the traditional nominations process and nominating committee role. It is useful for the committee to have approximately 5 members, at least 2 of whom are not board members.

Purpose of the Process

Monitor and facilitate healthy development and operation of the board, its committees, and the individual board members. To this end, the process helps build community relationships, recruit volunteers for roles within the organization, provide for development and training of volunteers, evaluate performance of the board and the board members.

Purpose of the Committee

Draft policies to support the process including: board and committee job descriptions and limitations. Lead and guide the process; encourage board understanding and participation. Monitor performance and facilitate change.

1. Policy Role

As necessary, review policies relative to board and committee jobs and limitations. Articulate performance expectations common to all board members. Recommend policies regarding operations of the board. As requested by the board, develop alternatives for policy modification and present with their respective implications to the board for decision.

2. Cultivation

Work with board, staff and other appropriate committees to identify candidates for involvement in the organization and develop cultivation strategies to strengthen relationship with these individuals.

3. Identifying Organizational Needs

Work with board, staff and committees to identify volunteer needs and the requisite skills, personal qualities, and diversity screens. Create necessary support materials to communicate this information. Develop a process for going out into the community to identify, interview, qualify, recruit and place individuals within the organization.

4. Assessment Role

Develop and carry out board and board member assessment processes. Draft an assessment tool for the board as a whole – a governance self-assessment – and create the mechanism for using it on a regular (perhaps every two years) with the board. Draft an assessment tool for evaluation of incumbent board members, for use on an annual basis.

5. Recommend Committee Chairs

During its reviewing and interviewing processes, the Committee gets to know leadership volunteers. This Committee can then make annual recommendations to the board president concerning candidates for chairs for committees.

6. Board and Committee Orientation and Development

The Committee is responsible for designing an annual orientation for the full board (both new and incumbent), committee chairs and committee members. It is recommended that the board orientation be scheduled as the first meeting after the election. This allows new board members to feel welcome right away.

Committee chairs are not recruited until after the election. As soon as they are appointed and have recruited their committees, consider having an orientation when all the committee members get together to learn about the organization and its new goals. Remember, committees should always include non-board members.

As the year progresses, it may be come apparent that additional development opportunities would be a good idea. Perhaps the board would like a workshop – at a regular board meeting – to discuss fundraising. The Committee could recruit a presenter and plan this session. The Committee might also recommend that board members attend community workshops.

7. Annual Board Election Process

Set the context: Review job descriptions, performance expectations of board members and traits of a useful trustee.

Identify Needs: Given where the organization is at this point in time, identify the necessary skills and representation to help get you there. Review this list with the board to gain concurrence. Compare incumbents to requirements and identify any gaps. Prioritize this list and review with board.

Evaluate: Evaluate incumbent directors based on performance assessment tool. Identify individuals who are not meeting expectations. If their terms are expiring, determine if you wish to renominate them or thank them for their contribution and release them. If you wish to renominate an individual whose performance has been weak, talk to them first. It is important you that you re-communicate expectations and find out why the individual has been unable to do this currently.

Target and Interview: Target individuals to fill the gaps in skills and identify ways to access the individuals. Convene a meeting/interview with each candidate and a representative of the Committee. It is also best to include the executive director in the interview. Conduct the interview in accordance with the draft “script.”

Evaluate: With the full Committee, evaluate the results of the candidate interviews. Select those candidates for election to the board. Select the slate of officers.

Invite and Confirm: Contact the candidates and confirm their willingness to serve, adhering to the specified performance expectations. Reiterate the responsibilities. Specify the term of election. Send a confirmation letter specifying the election date, date of the board orientation, and regular board meeting dates.

Nominate and Elect: Present the slate of officers and board members for election. Elect.


Developed by Simone P. Joyaux, ACFRE