No two boards are exactly alike, so their desired board members need to be different as well. Finding the right board members is a process that takes time, and needs to be closely related to your organization’s needs.
In a fundraising webinar I participated in this week, Darian Heyman talked about three kinds of boards:
In Name Only: Boards where people lend their name, often so an organization can get off the ground and start to become credible. These board members might show up, but they aren’t going to move the organization forward in a significant way.
Working: Board members take the place of staff in young, evolving organizations. You can work on “big vision” strategy with this type of board, but their primary role is in helping the organization survive.
Fundraising: Board members are active in helping the organization grow in a capacity-building way. These board members have the ability to transform an organization through their giving.
You can see that each of these boards requires different types of board members to be successful. However, all boards need to cultivate board members who play one or more of these roles:
- Ambassador: builds relationships that can be beneficial to the organization
- Advisor: provides guidance as the organization grows
- Advocate: serves as a cheerleader for the organization
- Asker: raises money
Board recruitment can’t be accomplished successfully until you have scripted the vision for your future. It’s important to involve current board members in this strategic process, and use the vision to help identify others who want to join you.
As your organizations matures and changes, your board member needs will also shift. Getting the right people on the bus, as Jim Collins says, is essential to your organization’s fulfilling its potential. Finding the right people isn’t always easy, but taking the time to find the right people is time well spent.
Please be in touch with me to talk about your ideal board member, and how we can build the board of your dreams together.