This inventory tool is developed based on the policy (adopted by the board), which describes the composition of the board. This grid is reviewed annually and adjusted as necessary. Individuals are recruited for a particular skill / experience. Think deeply about skills and experiences, including volunteerism, working in the home, etc. Remember that behaviors are as important as skills. Consider the behaviors described in Joyaux’s Typical Performance Expectations of the Individual Board Member and also Policy Related to Board Operations.
Tool for Analysis of Board Composition: Knowledge, Skills, Experience, Diversity and Networks
* Does “generalist” make sense? Add value? Or is this an attempt to create a category for individuals who do not bring something else to the table?
The optimum candidate(s) for board membership reflect the behaviors your organization expects + bring a particular skill(s) into the board room that assists with governance + reflect the diversity and networks that are important to your organization.
Identify the skill gaps and determine the priorities. (Use the gaps to identify candidates for board membership.)
Describe diversity within the Board. (Diversity includes but is not limited to race/ethnicity, geography, age / generation, gender, socioeconomics, sexual orientation, physical challenge, etc.)
Identify the “gaps” in diversity. Identify sources / ways to increase overall diversity while considering the skill gaps. (Use diversity screens to recruit candidates. You look for individuals with the skills and behaviors you need – and you look for these individuals within the diverse communities that you seek.)
Describe the networks / connections within the Board. (This includes but is not limited to business, social, civic, government, faith / secular, agency customers, etc.)
Identify the “gaps” in networks. Identify sources / ways to increase extend network while considering the skill gaps.
Remember, search for the skills you need – using the diversity and networks screens. For example, you seek more financial expertise within your board but do not want anymore white men.
Kristen Hay is the Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. From 2018 - 2020, she served as the Director of Communications for the Public Relations Society of America's local Hoosier chapter. Prior to that she served on several different committees and in committee chair roles.