How To Recruit Board Members for a Nonprofit Organization in 4 Steps

Ask them to serve on a board committee. Invite them to attend a non-fundraising event, such as a tour, class, etc. Invite them to attend a board meeting as a guest. Have members of your nominating committee invite them to a virtual coffee or lunch.

Recruiting board members for your organization is a critical step to ensure the organization’s long-term success. Having the right people in leadership roles is essential, as board members are tasked with setting the organizational vision, setting policies, and ensuring that the organization adheres to its values and goals. An effective recruiting process can help you find the right people for your organization and ensure a successful working relationship. In this blog post, we will explore the different aspects of recruiting board members and offer tips to help you create a successful process. We will cover topics such as creating a pool of potential board members, assessing and evaluating candidates, and onboarding new board members. By following these steps, you can ensure that you are assembling a board of directors that will help your organization thrive.

Startup Boards: Recruiting Your Board Members

Why is it important to recruit board members?

Finding the right board members is crucial because they can guarantee a nonprofit organization’s success. This is so because board members serve as the organization’s leaders, establishing its objectives and creating organizational strategies. Finding people with the appropriate leadership skills can determine whether a nonprofit succeeds in its mission.

The hiring procedure additionally enables a board to include a diverse range of viewpoints and expertise. A board consists of numerous members. Each member should ideally provide a distinct viewpoint, knowledge gleaned from a variety of experiences, and qualities that complement other members. A nonprofit board can embody all the traits required to succeed with the right mix of minds and voices.

What is a nonprofit board?

The governing body of an organization created with no intention of making money is known as a nonprofit board. A board’s role is to oversee an organization’s higher-level issues rather than manage its day-to-day operations. The purpose of the board is to develop initiatives and strategies to achieve the organization’s mission. In contrast, management is the purview of volunteers or paid staff members and entails carrying out the board’s mission.

Board members are the individuals who hold board positions. They gather frequently to talk about issues that have an impact on the organization’s objectives and to vote on policies that affect its operations. Officers are people chosen by the board to carry out specific tasks within the organization, and they are typically selected from among the board members. Normally, nonprofits have at least three officer positions, which include:

Board membership and officer positions alternate terms rather than being permanent. These terms typically last between two and five years, depending on the organization.

Important qualities for nonprofit board members

Effective nonprofit board members possess a variety of personal traits and skills, including:

Awareness and alignment

The ideal nonprofit board member understands and supports the organization’s mission. It’s crucial for the board as a whole to share the same values as the organization, as this usually manifests as a passion. For instance, a nonprofit organization working to increase literacy would likely want every member of its board to firmly believe that reading and writing are the cornerstones of individual success. Their personal convictions are probably what inspire them to work hard and generate innovative ideas for the cause.


Understanding the main issues that the organization seeks to address is another crucial quality. Plans for advancement are supported and legitimized by knowledge, enabling participants to suggest tactics based on factual data. Knowledge relates to a board member’s aptitude in functional areas as well, and this can help to improve the leadership’s overall effectiveness. For instance, a member with business administration knowledge could contribute a variety of skills that could enhance organizational effectiveness and budgeting.


The capacity to anticipate potential outcomes and make plans for them is a component of perception, which also involves insight. An insightful board member can visualize the outcome of the organization’s efforts and the steps necessary to get there. An organization can benefit greatly from having even one person with this quality because they can aid others in understanding their vision and direct the board of directors in the right direction. For instance, a board member with perception can not only set long-term objectives to guarantee success, but can also specify how to get there.


An independent thinker is more likely to act on their own initiative. This characteristic may be crucial for a nonprofit board in encouraging a member to look for information and solutions to problems that may not be immediately apparent. They might, for instance, make an effort to become knowledgeable about potential challenges connected to a chosen course of action and present these issues to the board during a meeting. They have worked to make sure that the board has addressed issues that could impede the organization’s progress without being informed of or made aware of a problem.


The availability of board members, or the amount of time they can devote to acting as one of the organization’s stewards, is another advantageous trait. The best candidates for the board are those whose schedules allow them to dedicate their time to a cause because nonprofit leadership can be a time-consuming endeavor. An individual may be suitable for a nonprofit board if they have few obligations that could take up their time or if they are willing to forgo obligations in favor of nonprofit work.

How to find board members for a nonprofit organization

Finding board members can start once roles and restrictions like term limits have been established. Make sure to take the following actions when selecting potential board candidates for a nonprofit organization:

1. Understand requirements

It’s critical to know exactly what you’re looking for in candidates before you start looking for board members. Create profiles of the people you think would make the best board members in order to achieve this. Consider factors like their personality, skills, professional and personal histories, and attitude when creating these profiles. Consider including demographic information in your profile as well, as the board can be a platform for community members to find representation and a voice for their concerns.

It’s not necessary for every candidate you find when you start recruiting members to fit your profile. Instead, the profile can be used to help assemble a board that, when combined, embodies the profile.

2. Look within and around the organization

Start your search for potential board members close to the organization by looking at candidates who are currently employed there. Consider volunteers and staff members. These people have likely already shown that they comprehend and support the organization’s cause, and they possess the drive and time necessary to work to further it. Additionally, since nonprofits draw volunteers and employees from a variety of backgrounds, there is a good chance that you will find strong candidates among the staff.

As an alternative, take into account people who have a relationship with the organization, like donors. Donors are people who have shown they are aligned with the organization’s goals, just like staff members are. They’ve also shown that they can support the cause financially, which is helpful in and of itself and may imply that they have a level of influence that would be advantageous to the organization.

3. Look locally

It might be a good idea to look for candidates in the relevant area, particularly if the organization supports a local or regional cause. Locals frequently have a deeper understanding of the practical issues that nonprofits seek to address, such as issues that need to be resolved and difficulties that could impede progress. They can use their knowledge of the environment to have insightful board meetings and propose practical change management techniques.

Additionally, as already mentioned, including locals on the board can aid in gaining support. It is frequently effective to demonstrate to a community how a problem relates to a company and its mission by having someone they know or recognize on the board of that organization.

4. Recruit online

The board may also be better off by hiring people from outside the area, especially if they have skills that could be helpful to the business. Human resources, technology, and real estate are a few functional industries you might take into account focusing on in your online search for candidates. These specialties are required for the operation of a modern organization. Consider looking for professionals experienced in nonprofit administration as well. They frequently possess important skills that can help your organization succeed.

Make sure to include specific details in your listing when posting online. List the various responsibilities anticipated of the potential board member, clearly state the organization’s goals and mission, and include a synopsis of the profile of your ideal candidate. Don’t forget to include the application process details and the deadline for submissions as well.


How do board members get picked?

What Does a Good Board Member Look Like?
  1. Expertise in a specific area which can help your corporation.
  2. Leadership and management experience, especially in related businesses. …
  3. Commitment to the business. …
  4. Time and energy to devote to board duties. …
  5. Integrity and lack of a conflict of interest.

How do you recruit and retain a board member?

During the hiring process, create a written job description for board members and distribute it to prospective board members. A good job description for a board member should outline expectations, such as meeting attendance, committee participation, event attendance, and donation and fundraising duties.

How do you do board recruitment?

Board Recruitment
  1. Lay the Foundation.
  2. Envision Your Ideal Board.
  3. Find Candidates.
  4. Help Board Candidates Find You.
  5. Board Posting & Matching Programs by Region.
  6. Board Posting & Matching Programs.
  7. Evaluate Board Candidates.
  8. Nominate and Elect New Board Members.

How do nonprofits choose board members?

5 Ways to Find the Right Board Members for Your Nonprofit
  1. Set up a Nominating Committee. …
  2. Start Your Board Member Search With Your Volunteers. …
  3. Make your donor database your best friend. …
  4. Diversify Your Board By Broadening Your Search. …
  5. Use Board or Volunteer Recruitment Websites and Social Media.

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