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Nonprofit board recruitment: Creating your dream team

August 14, 2021
Five people sit around a table and stack their hands together to celebrate successful nonprofit board recruitment at their organization.

Your nonprofit organization’s board determines your activities and long-term strategy. Board members make key decisions to guide your work toward your nonprofit’s purpose, and they meet several times a year to discuss if your nonprofit is on the right track.

Because of the key role board members play, recruiting the right individuals for your board is essential. This article will help you evaluate your existing board and recruit new board members who are excited about and ready to improve your nonprofit. Let’s begin.

Evaluating your nonprofit board

When it comes to nonprofit board recruitment, the first step is to evaluate your existing board. Consider the responsibilities your board members need to fulfill and if your current board is meeting your expectations. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do your board members make your nonprofit a priority?
  • Do existing term limits help the productivity of your current board?
  • How does your board currently aid and improve your fundraising efforts?
  • What skills and expertise do your board members need to guide your nonprofit over the next few years?
  • What kind of board member will provide access to potential major donors?
  • What has your board struggled with in the past?

The answers to these questions will give you a better understanding of what your ideal nonprofit board should look like. They will also provide guidance during your recruitment process, as you look for candidates who can fill in gaps in your current board.

Methods for conducting nonprofit board recruitment

After determining what you are looking for in a new board member, you can start the recruitment process. Use these methods to find potential board members:

  • Search through your existing board members’ networks for candidates.
  • Identify major donors or other prospects who can either be good candidates or introduce you to one.
  • Attend a board-match event, where you can network with potential board members from a variety of backgrounds.
  • Post a call for new board members on LinkedIn to recruit outside of your established connections.
  • Work with a company that specializes in finding board members for nonprofits.

There are many methods for finding qualified potential board members. Once you have a list of strong candidates, you can start assessing them to determine whether they’ll fit into your nonprofit as a whole.

Assessing candidates for nonprofit board recruitment

Start by asking your governance committee to draft a list of prospective new board members and share it with the rest of the board for review. Consider the role these candidates will have on your board, and select a few of them for each opening.

Then, ask candidates to complete an application for board membership. Set a firm submission date for applications to evaluate candidates’ ability to meet deadlines. Assess their volunteer leadership experience and other skills to determine the unique role they can play in meeting your nonprofit’s needs.

Interview prospective board members to learn more about them and get a glimpse into what working with candidates will be like. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself after each interview:

  • Are they a team player?
  • Will their personality complement your current board members?
  • Will you enjoy working with them?
  • What are the strengths, such as skills, diversity, network, status, and ideas, that they will bring to your board?

After the application and interview processes, you should have enough information to decide which candidates will be motivated and involved in your nonprofit and should become board members. Welcome them to your nonprofit and prepare them for a successful term on your board!

Nonprofit board recruitment: The bottom line

Selecting the best candidates to join your nonprofit’s board is a crucial task, but you can think of the process the same way you would any other hiring process. 

Just as you would want to hire someone qualified when filling any position at your nonprofit, you want to find strong candidates for your board. Additionally, your potential board members should be passionate about and committed to your nonprofit’s purpose. By selecting a candidate with these qualities, you will ensure an effective and engaged nonprofit board.

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