You need people you can trust. People who are just as committed as you are to your work and your mission. You need people who will help to guide your efforts and help you make the world a better place.
You need new board members. But where do you find them?
The good news is that you may already know the next perfect board member for your organization. You just need to reach out and let people know you’re ready. Here are 5 ways to find the next member of your board.
Let people know you’re looking
Social media makes it easy to connect with just about anyone—including potential board members.
To begin, take a look at your most engaged followers on social media. You want to pay particular attention to those who not only respond to your posts but also share them. And if those shares gather you some additional views, even better. Find your biggest fans and, if you aren’t already, begin engaging with them. By carrying on conversations with your most engaged audience members on social media you can begin to easily vet them as potential board members.
Twitter and LinkedIn are likely to be your biggest sources of qualified candidates so start with these two platforms. LinkedIn can allow you to view what type of professional experience a qualified candidate can bring to the table.
Outside of social media, include a note about your search in any communication you send directly to your audiences, such as a regular email newsletter or any campaign updates. While you probably want to avoid putting a general ask on your website, you should target your ask to those who have specifically asked to receive communication from you.
Ask for recommendations
You know people. Chances are, the people you know also know people.
Just as networking probably helped you get a job somewhere along your career, it can also help you add strong members to your board. Let family, friends, and coworkers know that you are looking. Many nonprofits assert that their strongest new hires have come from staff recommendations.
And, of course, don’t forget to reach out to current board members. These people not only know your organization well, they are most likely connected to exactly the kind of people you’d like to work with.
Use your base
When it comes to asking for recommendations, don’t stop with just the people in your circle. Reach out to the most dedicated members of your audience—your active volunteers and donors. These people have already demonstrated a commitment to your work and may be eager to take the next step with you.
There are multiple tools and sites out there that you can use to post board openings or search for qualified candidates. The Taproot Foundation’s LinkedIn tool is one and there are several others. While this strategy is less direct and potentially more time consuming, it ensures that you have covered all of your bases and is a good option to include in your portfolio of search activities. Many tools and sites require payment for posting positions so be sure to factor that into your planning.
Be open to possibilities
Perhaps most important, while you are searching for new board members remember to be open to possibilities. Engage in conversations at conferences, get to know the people who attend your events, or talk to the person sitting next to you on the plane. While it’s not likely that you’ll be serendipitously seated next to your next perfect board member on your flight home, good connections are always made when we are open to them.