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Board Development: Effective Strategies to Recruit Volunteer Board Members

In nonprofit organizations, the foundation of a robust and impactful board is often anchored in its members. Yet, one of the challenges faced by many nonprofits is recruiting committed, passionate, and skilled volunteers to serve on their boards. Here, we explore proven strategies to help your nonprofit recruit the right volunteers for board development. 

Understand Your Needs 

  • Before beginning your recruitment process, you need to understand what your board requires: 

  • Skill Assessment: What are the current skills and expertise of your existing board members? Identify any gaps in knowledge, such as financial expertise, marketing, or fundraising.

  • Diversity and Inclusion: Reflect on the demographics of your current board in terms of gender, age, ethnicity, and professional background. Strive for a diverse board that mirrors the community you serve. 

Start Within Your Network 

  • Your most fervent supporters and advocates are already familiar with your mission: 

  • Current volunteers and donors: These individuals have already demonstrated their commitment to your cause. 

  • Alumni: If your organization has a programmatic component, former participants might have a deep connection to your mission and can bring a unique perspective. 

Engage in Community Outreach 

  • Broaden your reach beyond your immediate network: Local business leaders: Engaging local businesses can be a mutually beneficial partnership.

  • Business leaders can provide your board with expertise, while they gain a sense of community involvement. 

  • Service clubs and organizations: Local clubs like Rotary or Lions often have members who are community-minded and looking for ways to serve. 

Use Technology 

  • Online platforms can be indispensable tools for volunteer recruitment: 

  • LinkedIn the platform’s “Volunteer Marketplace” can help you find professionals interested in board service. 

  • Volunteer matching websites: Sites like VolunteerMatch or BoardnetUSA can help connect nonprofits with individuals seeking board positions. 

Host Informational Sessions  

  • Organize open-house events or webinars where potential board members can learn about your organization, the roles and responsibilities of board members, and the impact they can make. 

Offer Training and Development 

  • For some, the hesitation to join a board comes from a lack of experience. Offering training sessions on board governance, financial oversight, and fundraising can make the position more accessible and appealing. 

Be Transparent 

  • Clearly outline the expectations for board members, including time commitments, financial contributions, and other responsibilities. This clarity will ensure you attract individuals who are genuinely capable and willing to contribute. 

Personalize the Ask 

  • When approaching potential board members, tailor your approach to their interests and skills. Demonstrating how their unique talents can benefit your mission can be a compelling selling point. 

Provide Orientation and Onboarding 

  • Once you’ve successfully recruited board members, ensure they have a seamless transition. This can include mentorship from seasoned board members, comprehensive orientation packages, and regular check-ins. 

Celebrate and Recognize Contributions 

  • Regularly appreciate and acknowledge the contributions of your board members. This not only motivates current members but also portrays your organization as one that values its volunteers, attracting future board members. 

In conclusion, recruiting volunteer board members is a strategic process that requires clarity, outreach, and recognition. By leveraging these strategies, nonprofits can assemble boards that are diverse, skilled, and deeply committed to advancing their missions.

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