Sie sind auf Seite 1von 96

Board Building

Board Development

Recruiting and Developing

Effective Board Members for
Not-for-Profit Organizations
Board Development
Board Building – Recruiting and Developing Effective
Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

A Self-Guided Workbook
The Right to Copy this Workbook
Permission is given to any not-for-profit organization to photocopy any or all of this workbook for use
within their organization, provided credit is given to the source.

An Important Note Before You Get Started

Not-for-profit organizations vary considerably in their makeup, their objectives and their methods of operation.
The information in this workbook is written generally and may not exactly fit the needs of your organization. It is meant
to be a starting point for you to deal with some of the issues which face many not-for-profit organizations.
The publisher does not give legal or other professional advice. Therefore, if you are doubtful about acting on any
information in this workbook or want clarification, you may wish to seek professional advice to make sure it answers
your concerns and issues.
The Muttart Foundation and the Government of Alberta are not liable if you use any of the contents of this workbook.
Make sure you have the benefit of professional advice which relates directly to your organization.

© The Muttart Foundation and Alberta Culture and Community Spirit

ISBN 0-9697939-5-2
Printed in Canada
First Printing 1995
Revised Edition 1997
Revised Edition 2003
Revised Edition 2008

Published by:
The Muttart Foundation
1150 Scotia Place
10060 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3R8
Phone: (780) 425-9616
FAX: (780) 425-0282

Alberta Culture and Community Spirit

Board Development Program
907, 10405 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4R7
Phone: (780) 427-2001
FAX: (780) 427-4155

This workbook was developed (1995) and revised (2008) by Wendy MacDonald for the Board Development Program
of Alberta Culture and Community Spirit in collaboration with The Muttart Foundation. The contributions of all those
involved in the Board Development Program, including Grant MacEwan College, the Wild Rose Foundation, and the
volunteer instructors who deliver the program to not-for-profit agencies across Alberta, are also acknowledged.

An effective board, committed to The continuing “Board Building” cycle
a purpose and skilled in governance for the lifespan of the organization
and guided by an effective vision, is includes:
perhaps the greatest asset of a not-for-
• Evaluating the current and
profit organization. While dedicated future leadership needs of the
and talented staff and/or frontline organization
service volunteers are also a critical • Recruiting board members with the
part of the team, their time and necessary qualities
energy would be wasted without the • Developing board members so that
focus, direction, and resources that a they become effective organization
board provides. leaders
• Sustaining board members’ interest
Recruiting, developing, and retaining and commitment
appropriate individuals to serve in
board roles is a difficult and time-
consuming job. Healthy organizations
are willing to make a major investment
of time and effort in these activities to
build a strong organization.

Board Development

This workbook has three sections,
each a part of the Board Building
Cycle. You will find information,
tools and techniques, references to
other parts of the guidebook, and
summaries in each section. The
symbols shown below will help you
find the information you require.

This symbol and/or message

tells you where you can find
more information related to the
topic you are reading about in
other areas of the book.

This symbol tells you that

there is an activity you may
wish to do.

This symbol indicates a

summary of the section.

Table of Contents
Chapter 1 7
Benefits of Being a
Board Member 30
Chapter 3 57
Recruiting for Success Evaluating the Board
Where and How to Find
Setting the Stage: Board Members 30 Board Meetings 61
Preparing to Recruit 8 Information for Prospective Individual Board Members 63
Recruiting: A Year- Board Members 37 The Board as a Team 67
Round Activity 8 Recruiting Tips 39 Summary 73
Who Should Recruit? 11 Recruiting: Issues
Rebuilding the Board 13 to Consider 40
Consider the Changing Hard-to-Recruit-
Needs of Your Organization 13 to Boards 44 APPENDICES 74
Consider the Composition Summary 45
of the Board Team 16
Consider Individual and GLOSSARY 84
Board Member Qualities 17
Chapter 2 16
Investment of
“Working Capital” 20
Orienting, Training RESOURCES 85
and Developing
Six Competencies the Board
of Governance: index 87
Working Together 21 Orientation 48
Board Composition Analysis Training/Dialogue 52
Tool: Recruitment Criteria 23 Recognition 54
Why Board Members Motivation and
Say Yes 24 Board Retention 55
The Desire to Serve 25 Summary 56
The Desire for
Mutual Benefits 25

C h a p t e r

Recruiting for Success

Board Building: Evaluating; Recruiting;
Orienting, Training & Developing
“How we recruit and develop board • What qualities, experience, and
members, by identifying, interesting, connections to the community will
involving and inspiring individuals, be missing from the board when
these board members leave?
has a great deal to do with whether
members serve or sit.” • What is required to restore the
balance of qualities, experience,
“Board Development” Information and connections on the board?
Bulletin (1993)
• How will new board members
Renewing the board begins with be chosen?
assessing current board members’ • Who will coordinate the
qualities and contributions. Some recruitment and development
of new board members?
questions that you also need to
answer are: • When should recruitment and
development of new board
• What skills, attitudes, and values do members take place?
board members bring to their roles? • How will your organization make
• Are current board members able to sure that the board is effective and
fulfill their commitments? committed?
• How is the present board • How does your organization
representative of the community attract and keep effective board
that your organization serves? volunteers?
• Which board members will
be leaving at the end of the
current year?
• Which board members will
be leaving next year?

Board Development CHAPTER 1 Recruiting for Success

Setting the Stage: Recruiting:

Preparing to Recruit A Year-Round Activity
Before attempting to recruit new Effective recruiting takes time and
board members, make sure that your effort, and needs to be an ongoing
organization has a strong foundation activity. Quality recruitment planning
in place to attract and support the and activities are key to building a
best prospects to the board. Some healthy organization. All members
questions that you need to answer are: of your organization must recognize
the importance of having skilled
• Does the community understand
the purpose and scope of your and committed leadership. Everyone
organization? must then invest the necessary time
• In what ways is your organization’s and resources to plan for recruiting
mission relevant to, and valued in, board members.
your community?
When is Recruitment
“It’s pretty difficult to ask • What is your organization’s track Important?
someone to support your record for meeting community
cause, when you’re not really needs effectively and efficiently? Why evolve a board when willing
sure what that cause is.” • What kind of reputation does your
– Diane Duca
individuals want to continue to serve
organization have? For example, do over a long period of time? While
you have a positive reputation for
some organizations cannot fill vacant
go to treating and involving volunteers
and board members well? positions, others cannot vacate those
See Appendix 1 on page 75 that are filled. Consider the need to
• What kind of structural framework
for guidelines you can use to is in place for the operation of the create limited terms and create change
write bylaws and policies for to:
recruiting and electing new
board (e.g., bylaws, policies, job
board members. descriptions, strategic planning)?
• Better reflect the diversity of your
• How clearly defined are your community
expectations of board members?
go to • Create new opportunities for
• How have you considered and others, including youth to share
dealt with reasons why people diverse perspectives
See Appendix 2 on page 79
may not want to join your board
for a sample job description • Provide opportunities for
you can use to clarify (e.g., the organization’s poor
leadership development and
board members’ roles and image, expectations of board
succession planning
responsibilities. members that are too high, liability
issues that may scare the board, • Balance board member qualities
increased competition from other required for current goals
organizations)? At the same time a retention strategy
and plan for succession are critical in
sustaining a functioning board.

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

Recruiting: A Year-Round Activity

While each organization is unique, For additional information turn to:
an Annual Board Recruitment Plan
might include these tasks:

1. Early in the year, the board Who Should Recruit?

appoints individuals to serve
on the Nominating Committee. Page 11
The Nominating Committee first
reviews the bylaws and policies
related to board recruitment.
Their recruitment plan must
not contravene the organization’s

2. The Board Chair identifies Board Member Self Assessment

those board members who are
leaving the board because they Page 64 – 66
have completed their terms. The
Board Chair also consults with &
members who have not fulfilled
Assessing the Work of the Board
their responsibilities and asks
them about leaving the board, Team
if appropriate. Individuals who
Page 67
qualify for an additional term
are evaluated before being invited
to serve a second term.
Note: A second term should not
be automatic.

3. The Nominating Committee Consider the Composition of the

assesses the qualities of current Board Team
board members, and considers
what strengths will be lost as Page 16
members complete their terms.
Consider Individual Board Member

Page 17

4. The Nominating Committee Consider the Changing Needs of the

considers the short-and long-term Organization
plans of the organization, and any
special board qualities that are Page 13
required to carry out these plans.

Board Development CHAPTER 1 Recruiting for Success

5. The Nominating Committee Consider the Composition of the

develops the selection criteria for Board Team
prospective board members, and
discusses the selection criteria Page 16
with the entire board.

6. The Nominating Committee Where and How to Find Board

requests suggestions for suitable Members
prospective board members from
a variety of sources. Page 30

7. The Nominating Committee Rebuilding the Board

researches all of the prospective
board members in more depth, Page 13
and chooses suitable candidates
to nominate.

8. The Nominating Committee may

ask the board to approve the list
of board nominees, although
the board usually simply accepts
the Nominating Committee’s

9. The Nominating Committee Recruiting Tips

designs a customized approach
for recruiting each individual Page 39
nominee, and assigns a recruiter
or recruitment team to approach
each board nominee.

10. The recruiters carry out Recruiting Tips

the recruitment plan and invite
interested board nominees to Page 39
stand for election

11. If the bylaws allow, members Recruitment Bylaws and Policies

outside of the Nominating
Committee may nominate Appendix One
additional prospective board
members. Page 75

12. The members of the organization Recruitment Bylaws and Policies

elect the board at the annual
general meeting (AGM). Appendix One

Page 75

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

13 The Board Chair welcomes new Orientation

board members to the board. New
board members are oriented to Page 48
the board and assigned specific

14. The board may invite unsuccessful Recruiting: Issues to Consider

nominees to fulfill other roles
within the organization that Page 40
complement their qualities. The
board may also refer unsuccessful
nominees to a more suitable

Who Should Recruit? Note: In many cases, the

In most incorporated not-for-profit membership elects a Nominating
organizations, the members elect Committee or Board Development
the board (depending upon how Committee from the general
the organization is incorporated). membership at the Annual General
The membership of most groups Meeting, rather than using the board
exceeds the number of people for this process.
on the board. However, when an The composition of the Nominating
organization is new, the board may Committee should allow for a mix of
be both the founders and the only perspectives, including opportunities
members. During that early phase for new members with diverse links
of development some boards simply to the community. A Nominating
replace themselves as board members Committee composed exclusively
leave, without a membership vote. of past board members may have
A Nominating Committee or Board a narrow view of the changing
Development Committee is often community.
used to identify prospective The role of the Nominating
board members, and to screen Committee may be simply to find
these prospects as nominees for willing and able prospective board
the membership to consider. The members to fill board vacancies.
Nominating Committee: However, many organizations
• Is appointed by the board recognize the need for a year-round
• Includes several board members, Standing Committee to make sure that
as well as other members of the the board is effectively renewed and
organization developed.
• Is often chaired by a past
Board Chair who has a good
understanding of the organization

Board Development CHAPTER 1 Recruiting for Success

The Nominating Committee: • To work with the Board Chair

to make sure that proper
• Acts as a personnel or human nomination and election
resource entity with respect procedures are followed
to the board and its internal/
self- management issues • To review bylaws, policies,
and procedures on recruitment,
• Is often referred to as the selection, assessment, and training
Leadership Development of board members and to make
Committee or the Board recommendations for change to
Development Committee the board on an annual basis
• Liaises with the staff as appropriate • To make sure that orientation,
in order to effectively use the skills training and other development
of, and maintain the commitment opportunities are available to
of, existing volunteers and the board and to individual
members board members
Following is a list of duties for the • To make sure that the effectiveness
nominating committee that you can of both the board and individual
board members is assessed on a
use as a basis for this committee’s
regular basis
terms of reference.
Individual board members
Duties of the
contribute to board recruitment by:
Nominating Committee
• Providing suggestions for
• To develop and maintain records prospective board members
of board and board committee
“Businesses have their
members including information on • Cultivating future prospective
recruiters and search firms board members
and professional sports teams skills, interests, experiences, board-
have their scouts; for us it’s the related orientation and training, • Helping with recruitment activities
Nominating Committee.” and terms of service as needed
– Brian O’Connell
• To work with the Board Chair
Members of the organization
to identify future board needs
contribute to board recruitment by:
• To analyze the strengths
and weaknesses within the • Providing suggestions regarding
current board prospective board members
• To identify necessary selection to the Nominating Committee
criteria for recruiting new • Carefully considering whom
board members to vote for
• To gather and to generate names • Considering letting their own
of prospective board members name stand for election
• To research and to screen
prospective board members
• To recommend a list of possible
board nominees to the board

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

The Board Chair may: Selection criteria to consider include:

• Be a member of the Nominating • The changing needs of your
Committee organization
• Assist the Nominating Committee • The composition of the board team
by offering his or her opinion • Individual board member qualities
about what member qualities the
board may require in the future
• Assist with approaching
board nominees

Note: Staff members should not be

involved formally in nominating the Changing
activities. However, consider
consulting them in the process.
Needs of the
Direct involvement is seen as Organization
potential conflict of interest.
Organizations are dynamic; they
grow and change with emerging
community needs. As a result, the
selection criteria used to recruit
REBUILDING new board members needs to be
re-evaluated on a regular basis.
THE BOARD Employers modify their selection
Developing selection criteria is the criteria each time they hire new staff.
first step in the search for the right The board’s selection criteria should
individuals to fill board roles. As also change based on current needs,
with any major decision, creating a resources, and situation. While basic
shopping list of criteria makes the job member qualities are not likely to
easier. Selection criteria help to: change dramatically, some selection
criteria may need to change to meet
• List the member qualities that the current needs of your organization.
the board needs in order to
operate effectively Changing organizational needs that
• Identify prospective board can reflect board recruitment include:
members who have these qualities
and can best fill the role • Type and model of board
• Level of decision-making
When identifying qualities your board
• Development stage
requires, consider the possible biases
• Focus and goals
that may be reflected in your criteria.
Do the criteria reflect the needs of • Special projects and campaigns
the organization and the make-up • Senior staff ’s abilities
of the community it serves, or is the • Image and profile in the
“shopping list” likely to build a board community
very similar to the existing board? These changes and their potential
impact are described in more
detail below.

Board Development CHAPTER 1 Recruiting for Success

Type of board Prospective board members will

The scope of work performed be interested in your organization’s
by board members differs in philosophy of governance. Board
organizations that are operated solely members must be prepared to make
by volunteers, and in organizations decisions, and to let staff or service
that have a paid senior staff person volunteers make decisions, according
responsible for management. All types to the policies of your organization.
of boards must carefully choose board
members based on their ability to Development stage
govern. They must have skills related
Organizations change and grow in
to the model of governance practiced
stages. In each stage, the organization
in the organization. These might
has unique needs and characteristics
include planning and policy-making.
which require appropriate board
However, organizations operated involvement.
solely by volunteers must also
New organizations need specific
consider the management skills
skills, a lot of support, and close
of board members who are being
supervision. For example, a new
considered for the Executive
organization may need board
Committee. Board members, who
members who have experience in
are on the Executive Committee or
developing bylaws, creating public
organizations with no paid or senior
awareness, designing systems,
staff person, must also have skills
and securing core funding for the
and abilities in coordinating and
organization. Board members in
implementing the day-to-day
new organizations are often
operations of the organization
involved in a hands-on capacity.
(e.g., bookkeeping, supervision,
As the organization matures, it
and program development).
needs a different set of skills and
member qualities. In more mature
Level of organizations, the full board becomes
Decision-Making more involved in governance issues
The bylaws and policies of your and less involved in the day-to-day
organization describe the role of the operation of the organization.
board. They define: Those board members who
• Who makes decisions in derive satisfaction from hands-on
the organization management may become frustrated
• The scope of those decisions or disruptive when the board begins
• The amount of responsibility that to shift the focus to governance issues.
is delegated to the senior staff and/ These board members may find it
or to the Executive Committee more satisfying to serve in a service
volunteer capacity. The board needs to
help volunteers choose the role that
is most satisfying to them.

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

All organizations, regardless of age Special projects

or maturity, go through stages of and campaigns
innovation and change followed by Sometimes organizations need board
a period of stability. Effective board members with specialized technical
members possess qualities that skills in order to successfully take on
meet the needs of the organization special projects. If your organization
regardless of the stage it is in. is going to do a capital fund-raising
or building campaign, focus your
Focus and goals recruitment efforts on individuals who
have extensive specialized experience
Both the short-and long-term plans
in these areas. Consider how they can
of your organization influence the
frame and facilitate effective dialogue
specific qualities needed at a board
with less experienced board members
level. If your board is considering a
related to the project.
major change in mission, image, or
clientele, consider adding new board If your board plans to restructure the
members who can help to support organization extensively, or to revise
the new direction. bylaws, consider recruiting people
who have the necessary knowledge
For example, an organization that
and skills to meet this challenge.
previously focused on treatment
While they should not be expected to
and rehabilitation changes its mission
undertake these activities alone, they
to prevention.
do need to be able to guide focused
For example, an organization dialogue with others on the board
that previously focused on the related to these decisions.
needs of older people expands
Note: During a special project
to provide counseling services
or campaign, your board needs
for the entire family.
to maintain all on-going board
For example, a sports organization responsibilities. Make sure that, if
that previously served elite athletes certain board members focus on the
decides to offer recreational sports special project, the remaining board
opportunities for young people. members have the ability to carry
out the on-going tasks and continue
For example, a local non-fiction to maintain some connection to the
writers’ group broadens its focus to special initiative.
become a provincial organization.

Senior staff’s abilities

A paid manager, such as an executive
director, fulfills different functions
than the board does. However, you
must consider the ways in which the
qualities of the staff and the board
complement each other. It is critical
to consider compatibility when
selecting a paid manager.

Board Development CHAPTER 1 Recruiting for Success

The board may need to perform a Small business fuels your community’s
coaching, supervising, and managing economy, but your organization has
role if your organization has: never recruited individuals who
operate businesses that support your
• Less experienced staff
organization’s mission.
• Limited resources
• Senior staff who are hired on One of your board members, a local
contract or part-time basis. celebrity who assisted you with special
fundraising events, has been charged
For example, a daycare board chooses
with fraud.
to hire a part-time manager to deal
with staff supervision and other A board member frequently expresses
personnel issues, while the daycare personal views that are often mistaken
board takes responsibility as the philosophy of your organization.
for managing the finances of
the organization.

Image and profile in Consider the

the community
Board members are your
Composition of
organization’s formal link to the the Board Team
community and to the people that
your organization serves. The boards of not-for-profit
organizations are composed of
Board members’ actions and their individuals who each bring diverse
relationship to the community gifts and levels of commitment.
can influence the success of your The overall balance of the board is
organization. When recruiting as important as the abilities of each
members to make an effective board, individual member. You cannot base
understand the linkages that your effective recruitment exclusively on
organization requires, and the image finding eight excellent prospective
individual board members and your board members. The Nominating
board composition reflects. Committee must consider:
What implications would each • How the prospective board
of these situations have on the members and the existing
board will work together
organization involved?
• How the qualities of each
The board of a social service agency prospective board member will
is composed exclusively of individuals influence the rest of the board team
from the same political party.

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

Consider • A commitment of time

• A willingness to use special skills
Individual Board • An ability to support board fund-
Member Qualities raising activities
• A sphere of influence
When selecting prospective board
members, consider the qualities
that they need to serve the board An interest in your
effectively. These qualities include: organization’s mission
and the people that your
• Specific skills organization serves
• Ability to communicate The underlying values that inspire and
• Level of commitment motivate committed prospective board
• Willingness to invest “working members are:
• Passion for a cause
Recruitment must be based on • Care and concern for the needs of
specific criteria that relate to your individuals or groups
organization’s needs. Choosing • Desire to make the world a
board members is an art as well as a better place
science. Many essential board member These values are difficult to
qualities are impossible to label and develop and nurture if the volunteer
assess objectively, so they are difficult has no real commitment to your
to include in job descriptions and organization’s mission. Prospective
checklists. These qualities include: board members are not likely to
• Good judgment sustain interest in your organization
• Compassion or to follow through on commitments
• Respect for others unless they are interested in and
connected to your cause.
Consider prospective board members
by using a variety of selection criteria
that include: A sense of integrity
A sense of integrity means that the
• An interest in your organization’s
mission and the people that your prospective board member:
organization serves • Is willing to place the good of your
• A sense of integrity clients or organization above his or
• The skills to work effectively her own self-interest
with others • Acts as a steward or trustee for the
• A willingness to learn and grow values and resources that belong to
your community
• A sense of a wider community
• Performs his or her role according
• An orientation to the future to high ethical standards
• Enthusiastic support for your
• Geographical location

Board Development CHAPTER 1 Recruiting for Success

The skills to work organization. Because board members

effectively with others have a wider circle of contacts,
Working on a board requires they are also more likely to be able
prospective board members to to assist in resource development,
be team players. Productive board planning, and board and membership
discussion and decision-making recruitment.
are based on the prospective board
members’ ability to: An orientation
• Respect each member’s viewpoint to the future
• Respect the democratic process The role of a board is to:
• Work effectively in a group • Guide the organization
• Bring a reasonable dose of into the future
self-confidence to their role • Make sure that there are resources
• Share their viewpoint without for future development
bowing to peer pressure
Prospective board members need
• Accept public scrutiny
and criticism to be interested in the growth and
development of your organization.
• Communicate with tact
and diplomacy
• Focus on building productive Enthusiastic support for
relationships your organization
Prospective board members must be:
A willingness to • Enthusiastic supporters of your
learn and grow organization
Prospective board members who have • Ambassadors for your
a positive attitude toward continued organization’s mission and
learning are critical for developing for the people that your
a dynamic board that is able to organization supports
deal with change and development. While prospective board members
Individuals who value lifelong may not agree with every aspect of
learning will support appropriate the operation, they should have a
board development activities. strong desire to support and develop
the work of your organization in a
positive way.
A sense of a wider
Prospective board members who have
a broader view of the community
and the world are an asset to most
organizations. Prospective board
members who understand your
organization’s connections to various
groups in the community are better
able to be an advocate for your

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

Geographical location A willingness to use

Consider the prospective board special skills
members’ geographical location if: The need for specialists on the board
changes with the needs and staffing
• It affects the practical operation
of the board of your organization. The special skills
that each prospective board member
• Representation by location
influences the views of the brings to the board are worthwhile
prospective board members only if the individual is willing and
able to use them.
Geographical location is a particularly
important consideration for a
provincial or regional association. In An ability to support board
these cases, consider the mechanics of fund-raising activities
traveling to meetings, communication, A major responsibility of many
and equitable representation. boards is to make sure that there are
adequate resources available to carry
out the work of the organization.
A commitment of time
Some boards delegate aspects of
Prospective board members must resource development to staff or other
be both willing and able to carry out volunteers. However, the board
their responsibilities. This requires must be prepared to actively work
them to commit a specific amount to secure financial support for
of time to board activities. Consider your organization.
prospective board members’ ability to:
Prospective board members must
• Manage their own schedule be in a position to assist by giving or
• Handle the number of generating funds. In other words, they
commitments they already carry
must be prepared to play a leadership
• Be available at critical times in role in one or more of the following:
your organization’s year
• Be successful based on their past • Donating to the organization
record with other organizations • Participating in fund-raising
Set clear expectations for time
• Using their skills, time, and
commitment, and inform prospective connections to secure funding
board members of this early in the through external sources
recruitment process. Prospective
board members can then judge Every prospective board member may
more accurately their ability to not be able to contribute financially.
serve your organization. However, each individual must be
willing to accept responsibility for
developing resources. You must
be clear about the expectations
for resource development for each
prospective board member.

Board Development CHAPTER 1 Recruiting for Success

A sphere of influence INVESTMENT

The board is a corporate body and
must make decisions collectively.
However, the formal and informal CAPITAL”
power that prospective board
Chait, Ryan & Taylor (2005) describe
members have, or are perceived
the critical qualities of board members
to have, will have an impact on
as the working capital they are willing
your organization.
to invest in the organization. These
The ability of prospective board investments are linked to action and
members to further the cause of, change leadership, rather than traits,
or to govern your organization may which may or may not develop into
be linked to their sphere of influence, action. The building of a board that
whether it be geographical, within appear strong in traits, but that never
a sector, or among a specific age or performs as a team in support of the
socio-economic group. Consider organization’s vision, is common.
the respect that prospective board Working board capital is found in
members receive from their peer diverse parts of the community and
group or from the wider community, not only in individuals traditionally
and whether they will use that considered for board roles.
influence to the advantage of
These kinds of capital are:
your organization.
• Intellectual – all board members
Some people are not willing to share use their abilities and technical
all aspects of their influence with expertise in meaningful discussion
your group. However, they may be and organizational learning.
very willing to use their network Specialties are not reserved for
individual technical tasks. The
to help your fundraising efforts,
board is not a composite of isolated
to organize a special event, or to individual skill sets, but a structure
lobby and/or advocate on your that uses shared knowledge and
organization’s behalf. operates as a community of
• Reputational – the work of
the whole board shapes and
influences the board’s status and
credibility, rather than a belief
that a few individuals will buoy
the organization’s image. The
organization’s reputation can be the
primary attraction for other kinds
of community involvement.
• Political – the board balances
power inside the organization
rather than depending upon a few
connected individuals exercising
external power. They influence
and set priorities that position the
organization to achieve its purpose.
• Social – board members
strengthen relationships to
enhance the commitment,
Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

effectiveness and diligence of the organization, their own roles and

board. Inclusiveness, trust, shared responsibilities and others they
values and common purpose may work with.
all encourage the building of • Interpersonal dimensions
social and network capital key to – the building, development and
organizational relationships and nurturing of a functional working
collaboration. team capable of shared goal
setting, self-assessment, leadership
Chait, Ryan and Taylor (2005) also
development and collective
suggest that board members as achievement.
leaders have three key roles. They • Analytical dimensions – the
must have the ability to carry out ability to view the whole or broad
their fiduciary (or trustee) role, be perspective on issues, while
strategic in their thinking and actions, assessing each part. The willingness
and to be generative (adaptable to question, explore and consider
differences of opinion.
and able to create new ideas and
direction). Consider how these roles • Political dimensions
– developing and maintaining
and investments of working capital
healthy relationships with major
match the abilities and commitment of stakeholders and communicating
prospective board members. with key constituents
• Strategic dimensions – envisions
a direction and develops strategy
to act proactively in support of the
organization’s goals
SIX COMPETENCIES Reflection and dialogue are critical
OF GOVERNANCE: processes in exploring what
governance means to an organization
Working and how the board chooses to govern.
Together (Seel & Iffrig, 2006). They further
suggest that to be effective and add
Chait, Holland & Taylor (1996) suggest value to the organization board
six areas of competence required for capacity needs to be built to:
effective governance. These influence
both the work of the board collectively • Learn, analyze, decide and act
and the capacity of board members • Manage internal dynamics of
individually to contribute to the the board and respond to the
organizations political climate
They describe the need for board
These elements are:
growth and learning related to
• Contextual dimensions – the way organizational culture, roles and
in which the board understands responsibilities, inclusiveness of
and takes into account the culture
diversity among board members,
and norms of the organization
it governs. They consider the experimentation and tolerance to
characteristics, culture, vision, ambiguity. At the same time the ability
mission and traditions into account to respect, communicate, and consult
and reinforce the organization’s with others who share interests and
values in their work. values, is important. Creating vision
• Educational dimensions – and direction and shaping strategy is
the necessary action to be the final primary focus.
knowledgeable about the
Board Development CHAPTER 1 Recruiting for Success

Board Develop a chart which highlights the

critical qualities your organization
Composition requires in prospective board
Analysis Tool: members. Example #1. Use the blank
grid below to customize for the
Recruitment current needs of your organization.
Criteria List the broad qualities, working
capital and specific skills you need to
deal with opportunities and challenges
facing your organization.

go to
Example – #1
A more detailed board Board The board now The board requires
composition recruitment tool Recruitment Criteria includes members who: new members who:
can be found in Appendix 3,
page 80.
General Qualities

Are committed to P P
our mission

Are willing P P
team members

Are able to commit P

adequate time

Specific Criteria

Have resource
raising skills

Have previously P P
served on Board

Community Balance

Contribute to equal P P
rural and urban mix

Contribute to ethno P
cultural diversity

Contribute to P
age diversity

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

to do
Board The board now The board requires
Recruitment Criteria includes members who: new members who:

General Qualities

Specific Criteria

Community Balance

“The presence of at least

one critical thinker on the
team is important…one who
Adapted from: Nordhoff, N.S. (1982) is unafraid to label a bad idea
by its proper name.”
– Cyril Houle

Board Development CHAPTER 1 Recruiting for Success

Why Board Successful board recruiters can

identify and communicate the benefits
Members Say Yes as well as the responsibilities of the
job. Consider the possible needs of
There are two parts to the equation:
prospective board members and both
• What a board requires from the concrete and the less tangible
its members benefits that your organization can
• What board can offer in return offer. These might include:
The concept of fair exchange is a • Opportunities to contribute to the
principle which applies to board welfare of the community
recruitment. Board members are • Effective use of the prospective
asked to commit volunteer time and board member’s skills and time
skills to govern, and sometimes to • Convenient meeting schedule
manage, the organization. Consider: • Networking possibilities
“What satisfaction can prospective
board members hope to receive from An individual’s initial motivation to
our organization in return for their join a board may change over time.
commitment?” Many boards lose valuable members
because they fail to understand the
To recruit successfully and to retain developing needs and interests that
board volunteers, your organization motivate individuals. Failure to offer
must understand what motivates new roles and opportunities usually
them. Each prospective board leads to high turnover of board
member is unique. He or she may members. You are making a wise
choose to join your board for a variety investment in keeping a strong and
of reasons. Some of these reasons are effective board if you can identify
publicly stated, and other reasons are and develop new opportunities to
less visible. As with other volunteer challenge individual board members.
roles, prospective board members are
not paid, so you must identify other Many issues influence the likelihood
benefits that might attract them. of a person becoming a board
member. The biggest issues are:
• The desire to serve
• The desire for mutual benefits

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

The Desire These opportunities for board

members are described in more
to Serve detail below.
Altruism is the ability to give
unselfishly and to benefit the welfare To further the individual’s
of others. This is a strong motivator and the organization’s
for most volunteers. An individual’s values and ideals
altruism may be enhanced by the Organizational leadership allows
desire to voluntarily enrich an board members to actively support an
organization or community that organization that promotes values and
has benefited the individual, his or activities that are important to them.
her family, or perhaps a business.
Consider the diversity of motivations For example, individuals who support
related to prospective board members. bilingual education choose to serve
on the executive of a school’s French
immersion parent organization.

For example, a student who

has concerns about environmental
The Desire for issues joins the board of a local
Mutual Benefits recycling society.
Many people hope to contribute
their time and skills in exchange To learn about a cause or
for opportunities that benefit them, an issue, your organization,
while also complementing the or a specific function
needs of the organization. Many individuals volunteer as a
A prospective board member may be means to lifelong learning. Their
seeking an opportunity: board involvement allows them to
enrich their understanding of issues or
• To further the individual’s and the societal needs. They may be interested
organization’s values and ideals
in learning and applying new skills
• To learn about a cause or an issue, or theory, or they may be interested
your organization, or a specific
in getting a better look at how the
organization operates.
• To explore career
development options For example, enhancing financial
• To participate in a democracy management experience by serving
• To apply the individual’s expertise as treasurer.
and experience
For example, developing a broader
• To add balance to paid work
knowledge of the community by
• To feel personally fulfilled serving on a board with individuals
• To pursue a personal focus from diverse backgrounds.
• To repay the organization

Board Development CHAPTER 1 Recruiting for Success

For example, gaining knowledge of For example, a homemaker, skilled

the capacity of people with disabilities in financial management, serves a
by serving on the board of an treasurer on a board that assists
organization that supports street youth.
community living.

To add life balance

To explore career to paid work
development options If the format or content of an
Many individuals find that individual’s paid work does not allow
volunteering on a board is a valuable for diverse opportunities, they may
way to research prospective career seek the opportunity to add variety
paths and to gain experience within or challenge by becoming a volunteer
a not-for-profit organization. board member in another setting.

For example, someone considering For example, a computer programmer

a career in journalism serves on the who is interested in people serves
Advocacy Committee of the board. on the board of a family counseling

To participate For example, a social worker

in a democracy serves on the Program Committee
Many individuals believe that their of a children’s theatre group.
responsibility as a citizen is to take a For example, a bus driver who
leadership role in an organization that enjoys sports and the outdoors
works for the good of the community. provides board leadership in a youth
These people consider serving on a organization.
board to be part of the democratic
process. They see board involvement
as both a right and a privilege. To feel personally fulfilled
Many individuals find that freely-
chosen and satisfying volunteer roles
To apply the individual’s
expertise and experience provide the ultimate opportunity to
fulfill themselves personally. Many
Many individuals are looking for
board roles provide such rewards.
opportunities to use their skills and
knowledge in a meaningful way.
To pursue a personal focus
For example, a retired educator
continues to use her expertise Many board members focus their time
by chairing the board of a and energy in specific organizations
literacy organization. that relate directly to their own
interests or to the needs of a family
member or friend. This is very
common in groups that advocate for,
or provide services related to, health,
special needs, or personal interests.

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

For example, a family member who

has lost a relative to chronic disease
serves on a local chapter board related
to that condition.

For example, a parent of a child

with learning disabilities serves on
the board of an organization that
advocates for more integrated
education opportunities.

For example, a visual artist serves

as a board member for a provincial
arts council.

To repay the organization/

Most people are grateful when they
receive the services of a not-for-profit
organization. These graduates may,
at a later date, choose to repay the
organization by contributing volunteer

For example, a bereavement society

recruits board members from families
who have previously used their
counseling program.

For example, a former Girl Guide or

Scout volunteers as a District Council
or Group Committee member.

For example, a new citizen serves on

the board of a settlement association.

Board Development CHAPTER 1 Recruiting for Success

to do
Our organization can provide board members opportunities to:

1. Further the individual’s and the organization’s values and ideals

2. Learn about a cause or an issue, our organization, or a specific function

3. Explore career development options


Creating Fair Exchange

What can your organization
offer prospective board
members in exchange for
their time, skills, and support?
How would your organization
use each of these motivators 4. Participate in a democracy
to encourage appropriate
board members to serve
in your organization?

5. Apply the individual’s expertise and experience

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

6. Add life balance

7. Feel personally fulfilled

8. Pursue a personal focus

9. Repay the organization/exercise reciprocity

Board Development CHAPTER 1 Recruiting for Success

Benefits of Being Where and How

a Board Member to Find Board
Take the time to identify the benefits Members
or being a board member in your
Recruitment of new board members
organization. This requires you to
usually starts many years before a
spend 20 minutes at the beginning
prospective board member is willing
of the next meeting, or to explore
or able to serve on your board.
this topic in more depth at a retreat.
Organizations that attract skilled and
Ask your existing board members to
committed board volunteers recognize
answer to the following questions:
that leaders must be developed. These
• What attracted you to become organizations devote time and effort
a member of this board? to prepare people to serve on their
• What do you find most boards. Like professional athletes,
rewarding about your role in this most effective board members have
spent many years developing their
• How can the board make the skills, confidence, and commitment
board roles more attractive to both
to the role.
current and prospective board

Record the answers so that the Supporting Leadership

answers can be shared. Large group Development In Your
discussion may encourage more Organization
ideas. If your board is less outgoing, Many organizations provide
consider doing the exercise privately. their members with opportunities
to develop leadership skills and
This activity may also be useful experience over a period of time.
for reinforcing the positive aspects Make an effort to give young
of your board and for identifying people within your organization
improvements that may encourage responsibilities based on their ability
greater commitment from and willingness to contribute. These
existing members. responsibilities might include:
Adapted from: Hutchinson, B. (1984) • Leadership roles, such as
junior leaders
• Develop board internship
• Advisory committee members
• Executive members of
youth programs

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

You can encourage adults in your Cultivating Interested

membership to contribute time Prospective Board
and expertise by: Members
• Assisting with a special Individuals recruited from outside
project or event your organization must have
• Serving on an Ad opportunities to:
Hoc Committee or a
• Become aware of your organization
Standing Committee
• Develop an interest in your
• Acting as an advisor
organization’s mission and
These responsibilities give individuals its work
an opportunity to develop a better • Be involved as a committee
understanding of your organization. member or in other adhoc roles,
before committing to a board role.
Prospective board members may
Prospective board members usually
come from within your organization.
become aware of your organization
Provide opportunities to allow
interested individuals to work in a
variety of roles, with varying degrees • Your organization’s public profile
of leadership responsibility. • The network of people or groups
with whom your board and staff
Encourage growth and development personally communicate
of individuals through: • Receiving services from, or
• Involvement in special events providing services for, your
• Leadership training
• Committee membership You may need to help prospective
• Shared leadership positions board members develop a relationship
with your organization, so that they
can make an informed decision. Then,
if you decide to invite these people to
consider board nomination, they will
not be strangers to your organization.
You can develop this relationship with
prospective board members and spark
a deeper interest by:
• Inviting them to special events
• Circulating your annual report
and newsletter to them
• Asking them to assist in their area
of expertise on a short-term basis

Board Development CHAPTER 1 Recruiting for Success

Identifying the Using critical

selection criteria
Right Person Brainstorm names of prospective
You can use several approaches to board members that meet your two
identify the right person to nominate most critical selection criteria. Then,
to the board. For example, you may consider any other desired selection
want to identify: criteria and characteristics.
• Key qualities For example, community members
• Critical selection criteria want to start a not-for-profit after-
school program for older children to
address concerns about child safety
Visualizing key qualities and vandalism. They need eight
Think about the key qualities that people to serve on their board. They
you are seeking and use these in a are looking for individuals who have
sentence to describe each prospective a concern for children and who live
board member. and/or work in their community.
To identify potential board
For example, a mature student, with
member, they:
good communication skills, who is
concerned about the environment, • List parents who have school
and who is willing to devote ten children aged seven to eleven
hours a month to board work. years old.
• Narrow this list to families needing
For example, a healthcare after-school care.
professional, who lives in your rural • Consider under-represented views
community, and who believes in that should be brought forward
palliative care in the home. and families of children they would
especially like to target.
For example, a parent, with children For example, individuals who can
attending ABC Daycare, who has bring a perspective to the needs of
skills in fundraising, and who is likely children with disabilities.
interested in serving on the board • Identify possible barriers to board
for two or more years. involvement, such as lack of child
care during board meetings

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

• Narrow the list further by • Looking in the business and

contacting prospects and asking corporate community
them about their interest in the • Consulting with volunteer centres
program and their willingness to
serve on the board. • Looking in professional
associations and educational
• Also consider other people institutions
who meet the criteria for board
membership. They contact • Looking in churches and
professionals working with service clubs
children such as the public health • Asking critics of your organization
nurse, the community recreation
worker, and teachers, as well as
local business owners and retired
community members. Note: Be careful not to allow
individuals outside your
Before making their final decision organization to choose prospective
from the list of potential board board members for you. Use their
members, they consider each suggestions as a starting point or
individual’s: consider inviting the suggested
• Personal and professional qualities prospective board members to serve
• Ability to contribute to the on a committee. Be sure that your
board team expectations of board members
are accurate when you are asking
another party to a assist you with
Sources of Prospective recruitment.
Board Members
These sources of prospective board
Prospective board members can be
members are described in more
found by:
detail below.
• Looking within your
organization first
• Considering who is not using your Looking within your
service/joining your organization, organization first
but should be You are more likely to find individuals
• Asking for suggestions from your who support your cause and share
current board and staff the organization’s values within
• Looking for retiring members of your organization. These people
other boards have already demonstrated a level
• Asking experienced board of involvement through their
members from affiliates membership, service as a volunteer,
• Asking community leaders financial support, or their use of your
• Asking retired or semi-retired organizations’ services. They may
individuals also have demonstrated the important
human qualities that are critical to
the job such as fairness, respect,
and judgment.

Board Development CHAPTER 1 Recruiting for Success

Some organizations ask retiring board Looking for retiring

members to replace themselves with members of other boards
a person who has similar qualities. Consider cultivating relationships
This technique might be useful at a with effective leaders in other
brainstorming level. However, it does organizations. Be sure that their
not consider the changing needs of interests and values are compatible
the board and the need for diversity. with the mission of your organization.
It is very easy for a board to become Be prepared to wait until these leaders’
a body of individuals who all share current volunteer commitments allow
the same values and interests and who them to consider your request. Keep
think alike. This composition may them informed and involve them in
not reflect the true nature of your special events or informal meetings
community, nor will it encourage the in order to keep your organization
development of fresh ideas. You need visible to them.
to think about who is not at the table,
as well as who is there.
Asking experienced board
members from affiliates
Considering who isn’t using
If your organization is affiliated with
your services/joining your
organization, but should be branches or similar groups in other
geographic areas, ask these affiliates
Members and customers stay away to refer volunteers or members who
when they do not see their needs may be relocating to your community.
and values reflected in the policy Your organization may benefit from
and direction of an organization. prospective board members who are
Approach individuals who can already knowledgeable about many
bring varied perspectives to your of your organization’s values and
board while also supporting the core methods of operating. At the same
purpose of your group. time, you can gain new ideas and
points of view.
Asking for suggestions Other sources for referrals include
from your current board Newcomers’ clubs, Welcome Wagons,
and staff
private relocation services, and
While many excellent suggestions other groups that serve those who
may come from staff, carefully are relocating.
consider their ideas. Be careful that
conflict of interest, either real or For example, to meet new
perceived, does not become an neighbours, volunteers who were
issue for your organization. active in their former school council,
neighbourhood association, or
community league also may be
interested in being involved with
boards of similar groups in their
new community.

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

For example, a national conservation Asking retired or

organization may refer a board semi-retired individuals
member who has been active in the If experience, time, and skills are
local branch to a similar branch in a critical to your board needs, consider
new community. recruiting individuals who are retired
or semi-retired. Since the role and
Asking community leaders format of paid work is changing,
individuals of diverse ages and
Most community leaders do not
interests are members of this growing
have the time to serve in additional
segment of the population.
roles. However, these people are often
excellent resources for assisting in Consider involving individuals in
recruitment. Most community leaders your organization long before they
have large networks of people that retire, so that their commitment and
they know or serve. skills are even stronger when they
have additional time to contribute. To
When meeting with community
locate individuals nearing retirement,
leaders be sure to describe the
consult retirement planning sessions
qualities that you are seeking
and volunteer programs within
and the commitment that your
corporate or professional groups.
organization requires. Those you
Seniors associations, professional
select to consult with also need to
organization, and alumni groups
understand the mission of your
also provide leads.
organization. Most community
leaders will likely assist you if you
are considerate of their time. Looking in the business
and corporate community
Some example of community
leaders include: Recruiting appropriately-skilled
employees of business organizations
• The clergy within your community may be a
• Those who hold, or have sought, mutually beneficial relationship.
political office Many corporations and small
• Active board members and businesses encourage their employees
volunteers in other organizations to volunteer for board service as a way
• Leaders in the media to gain experience, develop new skills,
• The Chamber of Commerce and and generate good will. In return, not-
other business-related organizations for-profit organizations may gain:
• Professionals in areas related to
your cause • Resources
• Leaders within specific • New ideas
ethnocultural communities • Skills
• A means of broadening the
member and volunteer base

Board Development CHAPTER 1 Recruiting for Success

Corporate employees who are Looking in religious

beginning in management roles may communities
be more able to contribute the time and service clubs
and energy required for a board role Organizations that do service work
than their more senior colleagues. may have members who are interested
Consider both types of corporate in diversifying their volunteer service.
employees. However, remember that Many of these individuals have
those who do not already have other valuable organizational and
commitments can grow and develop governing skills gained within the
within your organization, giving more other organization. Consider looking
years of service. at service and faith-based groups that
have already demonstrated interest in
Consulting with your organization through financial
volunteer centres or volunteer support.
Volunteer centres are most effective
if they have a board bank, a database Asking critics of
of individuals who are interested in your organization
board leadership, and who have been Individuals who have criticized the
interviewed to determine their skills, work of your organization, but who
values, and interests. have compatible values, may develop
into strong allies if they are given
Looking in professional the right support. Many of these
associations and individuals are passionate about
educational institutions a cause and are able to speak out
because of their genuine concern.
If you need specialized skills to fill
Identify, listen to, and cultivate more
a board role, consider contacting
positive relationships with such
a professional organization or
individuals. They may be potential
educational institution that
board members in the future.
focuses on that skill area.

For example, individuals with

a strong interest in financial
management might be found
within an association representing
accountants. Students in a college
business-management program
might also offer these skills at
a different level.

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

Information for Common Questions

From Prospective
Prospective Board Board Members
Members • What is the purpose or mission of
your organization? How do your
Lack of quality information is programs and services relate to this
often the reason that prospective purpose or mission?
board members decline to join • Whom do you serve? Who are your
organizations. Prospective board members? In what ways are the
people you serve satisfied with your
members want honest, complete, service? How do you know that the
and meaningful information that people you serve are satisfied?
relates to their needs. The information • Does your organization have a
needs to be clear and concise and in strategic plan? How does your
a format that is best suited to the organization plan for major
prospective board member. changes in the future?
• How is the financial health of your
For example, one individual may organization? Who are your major
prefer a print package to read at his funders? Are they satisfied with
or her leisure. Another individual may your organization’s performance?
prefer a one-on-one orientation. Yet What is the board’s involvement in
another individual may prefer a group budgeting and fundraising?
presentation. • How is the board structured? What
committees exist and what is their
You need to distribute meaningful, purpose? In what capacity are
user-friendly information throughout board members expected to serve
the recruitment process. Select on committees?
information that the recruiters can • How is policy developed in your
organization? Who is involved?
use to support their discussion with
the prospective board members. • Do you have job descriptions
or terms of reference for
To avoid duplication or gaps, keep a board members, officers, and
written record of information that the committees?
recruiters distributed. Record: • What is the board’s relationship to
the staff and to volunteers? How
• What kind of information was do the board, staff, and volunteers
distributed work together?
• To whom it was distributed • Does your organization have board
• Who distributed the information member’s and officer’s liability
This information forms the first • How much time is required to
step in orienting prospective board serve as a board member? Is
members to the board and to your there any expectation that the
organization. If the prospective board prospective board member needs
member does not join the board, he or to provide financial support?
she will at least have more awareness • What do you think the prospective
of your organization. board member could contribute to
the board?

Board Development CHAPTER 1 Recruiting for Success

to do
Checklist: Information for Prospective Board Members
This checklist can form the first page of your organization’s Orientation and
Development file that is kept for each board member. The board Chair or Board
Development Committee uses this information to plan for the future.

Make sure that all prospective board members receive the following:
1. Information about your c Summary of strategic plan or a
organization, programs, similar document: outlines your
and staff organization’s strategic direction
This might include: for the next three to ten years
c Samples of publicity generated
c Fact sheet: a short overview of by your organization: include
your organization that includes newspaper articles and media
the organization’s mission and releases
purpose, whom the organization
serves, the organization’s history, c Other
its programs and services, and its
funding sources 2. Information about your board
and how it operates
c Brochure: lists the highlights of
your organization This might include:
c Annual report: includes highlights c Board member job description
of the organization’s work and its
financial statements c Information about the role of
the board and how it operates
c Newsletters: include any back including board member
issues that you believe are relevant code of conduct
to the prospective board member
c Board and committee
c Programs and services summary: structure chart
include only if it is not contained
in the other documents c List and biographies of current
board members
c Staff organization chart: shows
he names, positions, and levels in c Worksheet for estimating resources
your organization required from board members
c List and biographies of senior c Orientation and development
staff members: include the opportunities for board members
executive director and other c Board manual table of contents
members who hold senior c Other
positions in your organization
c Summary of major funding
sources: lists the major funding
sources and describes in detail
how your organization obtains
and allocates funds

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

Recruiting Tips • Make sure that your presentation

to the prospective board member
is honest when you describe the
time, energy, expectations, and
Your efforts are challenges that are associated
never wasted. with the role. Doing this will lead
• Be sure to acknowledge the to more realistic, committed,
recruiting teams, even if they did and enthusiastic board members
not succeed in recruiting anybody joining your organization. Be
this year. careful not to oversimplify the
• Customize your recruitment amount of responsibility that the
approach whenever possible. Know role dictates. Doing this shows
why your organization wants the lack of respect for the role, the
specific individual and what your individual and the organization.
organization can give in return. • Emphasize the orientation,
• Be sure to highlight each training, and other development
prospective board member’s activities that are available to
unique qualities when inviting board members.
him or her to join the board. Help • Do not be afraid to personally
the prospective board member to invite new members to consider
recognize how important he or joining the board. About 87% of
she is to your organization. individuals who volunteer were
• When approaching prospective asked by a friend, family member,
board members, do not or colleague. The most common
guarantee that the individual reason for not volunteering is, important
will automatically be elected. Make “Nobody asked me!” If prospective board members
sure that all recruiters are aware of say no, remember:
this guideline. You may ask about • They may say yes in the
the prospective board member’s
• They may suggest other
willingness to serve only after prospects
the Nominating Committee has • They may support you in
explored the board needs and the some other way
suitability of the prospective board • It was probably a
member for the position. good public relations
opportunity for your
• It is a good idea to use two organization
members of the Nominating
Committee as a recruiting team
to meet with prospective board
members. You will meet with the
best success if the recruiters are
peers of the prospective board
members or are mutually respected
by the prospective board member.
Choose your recruiting team
carefully, matching the recruiting
team to the prospective board
• Use personal visits to approach
prospective board members.
Personal visits generally meet
with the most success.

Board Development CHAPTER 1 Recruiting for Success

Recruiting: Issues You can also refer the individual to

another organization that may be
to Consider more suited to his or her needs.
Not-for-profit organizations are Many organizations develop policies
fortunate to be supported by people to deal with the recruitment of board
who are willing to volunteer time, members from the following groups
contribute ideas, and share skills. because they are commonly recruited
The qualities that each individual to boards:
brings to the organization are
• Past staff
potentially valuable. Carefully
consider the appropriateness of • Past board members
prospective board members so that • Clients and their families
their board service is a positive
experience for the individual and for Former staff
the organization.
Past staff may be good board
If the individual is not ready or volunteers. They are informed,
suited for board work, make sure experienced, ready to participate, and
that you find an appropriate role for need little orientation or support.
them. If the interested individual
However, former staff may find it
serves the organization in some other
difficult to separate the role of staff
capacity, their contribution may lead
and board member. After all, they
to becoming a board member in the
are used to being in a staff position.
future. The Nominating Committee
is responsible for assisting these Just like anyone who is new to a board
individuals to become involved in position, past staff will need guidance
your organization. To do this, the on the responsibilities of being a
Nominating Committee may ask board member. Past staff, who serve
for the assistance of other board as board members need to be aware
members, the executive director, that they should not focus on the
the volunteer manager, and/or management or operations. These
other staff and volunteers. activities are the responsibility of paid
staff, the executive committee, or
Interested individuals who are not
service volunteers. A board may have
currently suitable for a board role
difficulty governing the organization
could be alternatively involved in:
if some of its board members are
• Serving on a committee confused about their roles. Often,
(Ad Hoc, standing, or advisory) this confusion leads to hard feelings
• Coordinating a special project between board and staff.
• Contributing viewpoints as a focus
group participant Occasionally, past staff members
• Acting as a service volunteer are motivated by the need to right
a wrong and need to be made
• Being a financial contributor
aware if they use their board role
inappropriately. Former staff who

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

have recently been employed by your Clients and their families

organization may need time to gain Many organizations feel strongly
objectivity in their decision-making. about the need to involve clients
Past staff members can be very and their families as board members
committed to the work of the to provide a balanced perspective.
organization and may make excellent Clients and families with a deep
board members. To make sure that commitment to a cause often have
your decision to bring on past staff the passion and values that are critical
is a positive experience, consider to board membership. If a client or
developing a policy that requires at a client family is being considered as
least a two-year waiting period before a prospective board member, there
staff may seek board election. are some recruitment and orientation
issues that you may need to consider.

Past board members When clients or client family members

become board members, they need
Past board members are well-
to be aware that they are being asked
acquainted with both the work and
to make decisions that will support
the role of the board and can make
the purpose of the organization as a
valuable contributions. Since they
whole. Their focus is on the needs
are coming to a new board with
of the organization, all of the people
new challenges and changes in the
that the organization serves, and lastly
community, past board members
on the individual client’s or family
need to be able to objectively
member’s involvement. Because of
reconsider decisions made by
the client’s or client family’s special
former boards. Occasionally, new
involvement in the organization, he or
board members may over-rely upon
she needs to be aware of the possibility
the opinions and skills of experienced
of conflict-of-interest situations that
board members when developing
might arise.
their own leadership skills.
For example, the parent of a young
You may want to ask effective
athlete sits on the board of the track
board members to serve additional
club. He is in a position to decide
consecutive terms in order to provide
who will receive funds for travel. This
the continuity and experience that
position leaves him in a perceived or
the board requires. However, your
real “conflict-of-interest” situation,
organization’s bylaws need to set limits
where he may be judged as favouring
on the number of consecutive terms
his child.
that a board member can serve. You
may also want to encourage a waiting In other situations, particularly in
period between terms. This allows self-help organizations, individuals
less experienced board members may use volunteering as part of their
opportunities to develop their skills. It personal healing or recovery process.
also provides vacancies which can be As board members, they need to
filled by new and diverse members. be able to focus externally and be
aware that they are being asked to

Board Development CHAPTER 1 Recruiting for Success

make decisions that will support the elected to the board. Points for you
purpose of the organization to think about when recruiting form
as a whole. those groups are described below

For example, a recent participant in a

drug-abuse rehabilitation program is Service volunteers
asked to serve as a board member Many volunteers with high
of a counseling agency. commitment and interest may
For example, a person whose spouse wish to serve in several roles within
is deceased is asked to be the treasurer an organization. For example, one
of a bereavement organization even individual might serve as a board
though she is still actively grieving. member, a volunteer counsellor, and a
bingo worker in the same organization.
This may become a role problem
Clients and Consumers as for the board member and the
Board Members organization. When board members
Consider the following questions serve in many volunteer capacities in
as part of a board membership or the same organization, they may find
nominating committee discussion. it difficult not to use their board role
to advise or direct the work of staff
• Are clients and consumer, or their
families, encouraged to serve on and other volunteers. They may try
your board? to make decisions about issues that
• What does your organization gain are the responsibility of staff.
from their perspective?
To help these board members, you
• What challenges does their need to clearly define each volunteer
involvement create for them,
for your organization, and for role in your organization. If you
the board? imagine each role as a hat that the
individual wears, you can see why
Many other individuals are recruited there is confusion when a volunteer
because of special talents, qualities wears too many hats. Even if the
and/or unique perspectives. These board member can clearly separate
groups include: their responsibilities, there may be
• Service volunteers confusion when others view the board
• Different sectors member as wearing their board hat
when in a service volunteer role.
• Young people
• Hands-tied contributors
• Specialists Diverse Perspectives
• Letterhead board members Diversity and fair community
representation are critical to the
When recruiting individuals from
success of your organization. Each
these groups you must make sure their
board member brings a set of views,
roles and responsibilities as a board
values and connections within the
member are clear. Care and planning
when selecting these individuals
will allow them to contribute fully if

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

Carefully consider the issue of Hands-tied Contributors

diversity as it relates to your Prospective board members are
organization. Consider recruiting recruited because of their viewpoints,
more than one person who can bring expertise, or connections. Be sure
the perspective of a particular segment to consider the prospective board
of the community to your board. This member’s ability to actively contribute
allows each individual to contribute all these skills and knowledge to your
of their qualities and not just act organization. Conflict-of-interest
as a spokesperson on particular issues. situations may arise because of
Make sure that you choose prospective business, employment, or other
board members for their unique relationships. Some prospective board
perspectives, as well as the other members may not feel comfortable
qualities and the commitment and with advocacy roles that may confuse
working capital that they can bring to your organization’s views with their
your board. employer’s or family’s beliefs.

For example, someone who sits on

Young people the boards of several not-for-profit
Some boards choose youth organizations that compete for funds
representatives to provide valuable cannot ethically share information.
input into board decisions and to
encourage leadership development For example, a person may perform
in young people. If your organization paid work that is too interrelated
chooses youth representatives, consider with the affairs of your organization
the legal responsibilities of governing to allow them to freely participate
boards. Some incorporation policies without conflict of interest.
allow underage individuals to serve
on boards as long as they are members Specialists
of the organization and they are willing
Lawyers, architects, accountants,
to accept the same legal responsibilities
and doctors, and other professionals
as the adult board members.
may not wish to perform professional
Other ways that your organization duties on behalf of your organization
can also benefit from the perspective because of liability or professional
of younger members, without legal codes. However, these professionals
responsibility, include having them may be valuable advisors to your
participate in: board. Be sure to clarify the scope
of the consultation role that you
• Advisory committees
ask professionals to contribute.
• Board internships
Consider using this intellectual
• Focus groups working capital to facilitate
• Other activities that include meaningful board discussion rather
their views than assign isolated technical tasks to
the individual.

Board Development CHAPTER 1 Recruiting for Success

Many volunteers choose to be board Be sure to define the board member’s

members to provide variety and role clearly, to make sure that all
balance to their paid work. These board members take on an active
volunteers may not feel rewarded role which utilizes their skills
if they are asked to contribute paid and experience.
vocational skills for no remuneration.
Consider the feelings of active board
Be sure to consider underemployed,
members if you elect letterhead board
developing, or unemployed specialists
members, who only enhance your
who may have a desire to use their
organization’s image but never actively
technical skills more fully.
participate. Your organization will
For example, a physician may not pay a price because there is a board
want to be medical advisor to a social liability risk to any board member
services agency but may be willing to who neglects his or her responsibilities
help the board learn more about the through inactivity.
relationship between health and the
clients’ ability to find employment.

For example, an accountant

may choose to serve on the Hard-to-Recruit-
Nominating Committee rather
important than the Finance Committee. to Boards
For example, a professional When it is difficult to recruit
Consider how customized
recruitment strategies can help trained in another province or prospective board members, you may
your organization deal with country and whose qualifications be tempted to reduce your standards
ongoing challenges. to a minimum to stretch the truth
are not formally recognized here
may wish to use their skills and in order to attract prospective board
experience in a meaningful way. members or to take any warm body
willing to participate. If you are
Do not overload your board with having difficulties recruiting effective
visible specialists unless the board board members, make sure you
intends to use these special skills. re-evaluate your recruitment plan.
The perception of some funders is Can you define the benefits of being a
that you are wasting resources if board member in your organization?
you hire outside help, when you Are you offering prospective
have specialists on your board. volunteers a “fair exchange”?

Letterhead board
All organizations could benefit from a
well-known or philanthropic mentor
as a board member. Fame, wealth
and power are attributes that most
organizations seek. However, few
individuals would appreciate being
recruited for these qualities.

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

to do
In each of the following situations: “Our organization is in a crisis. Funds
are low and several board members
• Identify the barriers that the
organization and the recruiters have resigned. My organization does
may face in finding interested good work, but nobody wants to take
volunteers the risk of being associated with us.
• Brainstorm a list of the types of How can we renew our board?”
people who might be attracted to
these roles “Our rehabilitation organization serves
• Discuss ways to design each needy, but unpopular persons within
board role to improve the quality the community. How can we attract
and quantity of board member in board members?”
the future
• Discuss strategies to recruit
effective board members for summary
the group.

“I live in a small community in which

there are not enough people to fill all for Success
of the volunteer roles. How can my
Effective boards are the product of
organization attract board members
a planned building process that
when many volunteers are already
continues all year. This process
begins with the current board
“Several of our organization’s board members deciding what qualities
members are appointed by the and skills are needed to govern,
organization’s funders. The people who and in some cases, manage the
are appointed are often not interested organization. From this point, the
in, or committed to, the job.” recruiting activities are coordinated
by a standing committee called the
“Our organization’s board is made
Nominating or Board Development
up of representatives from other
Committee. The Nominating
organizations. Each board member
Committee develops selection criteria
represents the views of his or her own
for potential board members which
organization. Many of these board
reflect the necessary qualities and
members serve on my organization’s
skills outlined by the board.
board only because it is part of their
paid job responsibility. As a result, we Whenever possible, the Nominating
have trouble working as a team and Committee recruits new board
we find that the commitment to the members from the organization’s
job is low.” membership or from other
individuals who are involved with
the organization. Potential board
members who do not have previous
experience with the organization must
have compatible values and interests.

Board Development CHAPTER 1 Recruiting for Success

The Nominating Committee considers

what motivates certain individuals
to serve as board members and
incorporates this information into
its recruiting plan. The board and
Nominating Committee must make
sure that a fair exchange occurs
that balances the benefits offered to
the volunteer board member with
the skills, time, and commitment
members bring to the board.

Effective boards are willing to

cultivate prospective board members.
People often need to gradually
become involved in the organization
through other activities before taking
on a board role. Involving young
people in leadership development
activities also develops a source of
future board members.

C h a p t e r

Orienting, Training and

Developing the Board
Effective board development is • The skills and knowledge
an ongoing process. It is an to provide leadership to the
investment in: organization
• The motivation to sustain their
• The individual board member board role “We get so totally tied up in
• The board as a working group today’s needs, that we don’t
Effective board development reserve a realistic part of our
• The organization and its ability to
serve the community acknowledges and enhances the skills, resources for developing the
interest and experience that board talent and dedication necessary
to carry and expand the
Orientation, training, experience, members bring to your organization. association’s efforts tomorrow.”
and recognition all contribute to To retain committed members, boards – Brian O’Connell
board development. must be willing to meet the individual
Board development activities provide board members’ needs for challenging
members with: work that suits the time and expertise
that they are willing to contribute.
• A common frame of reference
• The knowledge and experience
needed to be effective board
• The motivation to reflect, critically
think and generate new ideas
• The skills to make informed
decisions, and to be creative
and innovative
• The attitudes necessary for mutual
support and respect
• The confidence to be advocates for
the organization

Board Development CHAPTER 2 Orienting, Training and Developing the Board

Value Added Orientation

Development Activities
Board development takes time, energy, New board members appreciate and
and resources. Board development benefit from an effective orientation
activities must be: to the organization no matter how
much experience they have. An
• Relevant to both the individual effective orientation helps new board
board member and to the board as a
members to understand the purpose
and the mission of your organization,
• Customized to meet the needs of
its major activities and issues, and
both individual board members and
the organization's goals how the board operates.
• Cost-effective in both time Many new board members may
and dollars already have a base of information
• Convenient in both format and experience. A group orientation
and location and ongoing mentoring are excellent
• Timely and related to the ways for board members to share this
organization’s priorities expertise. Effective board development
• Useful for the individual’s board role enables all board members to make
as well as for their lives outside the
decisions and to take actions from the
same base of information.
Board development activities include:
Objectivity is one of the greatest
“When board members do not • Orientation contributions that a new board member
receive adequate orientation • Ongoing training can make to your organization. New
or training, they often invent a
role for themselves.” • Opportunities for group reflection board members bring an outside
– Irma Finn Brosseau and dialogue perspective that lets them see issues
• Assessment and evaluation more clearly than those members who
“No amount of orientation opportunities are invested in the issues. Actively
can make an outstanding • Progressively responsible solicit observations and ideas from
board from a group of assignments
poorly or inappropriately new board members by asking for:
selected people.” • Recognition of commitment and
• Observations and suggestions for
– Diana Duca involvement
the operation of the board
Board development activities relate to: • Reflection on processes they
• Understanding the organization’s
cause and purpose • Ideas about new ways of meeting
the organization’s mission
• Understanding the organization’s
structure and systems • Observations and suggestions
on a host of other issues
• Understand the organization’s
people Assign specific duties to new board
members immediately to get them
involved. The quickest way to lose
enthusiastic board members is to give
them nothing to do. Assign new board
members to committees or special
projects so that they get to know both
the people and the organization.

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

Ways To Board orientation manual

Most organizations develop a board
Help a New manual that describes the purpose and
Board Member operations of the organization. This
board manual is:
To contribute effectively to your board
and organization, new board members • User-friendly
need relevant information that • Updated regularly
meets their time and learning needs. • Given to each board member while
Methods of orienting board serving on the board
members include:
Note: Many groups put the board
• Group sessions manual into three-ring binders to
• Board orientation manual make it easier to use and to update.
• Audiovisual and online resources Others use electronic files which are
• Mentors easy to store and update.
• Chair coaching/ check-in

These orientation methods are Audiovisual and

described in more detail below.
multimedia materials
Audiovisual and media presentation
tools allow new board members to important
Group sessions learn at their own pace and on their
Most organizations hold group own time. As part of your board What does a new board
member need to know?
orientation sessions for new board orientation, consider using:
members within the first month of
• online orientation modules Who is the most appropriate
their term. Some initiate orientation person to provide the
• audiovisual materials
before inviting prospective board orientation?
members. You may want to include • hybrid sessions using both face
to face and online or reading
all board members in this orientation materials
especially for issues or procedures
related to the operation of the board.
At the same time members may build Mentors
relationships early in their term. Mentors are effective in helping new
board members feel comfortable and
Group sessions could include: in acting as a resource person to assist
• Presentations them. Partner new board members
• Discussions with willing and experienced
• Tours board members.
• Techniques that reinforce the
information Chair Coaching/ Check-In
Orientation is usually a shared board/ The Board Chair monitors each
senior staff function. new board member’s comfort and
concerns with his or her role.

Board Development CHAPTER 2 Orienting, Training and Developing the Board

to do
Use a checklist to develop a
Checklist: Orientation of New Board Members
board orientation manual. Information Time Place Resource Person

1. Values Discussion Board Chairperson

• Discuss the beliefs
and values of the
organization Full Board Discussion
• Relate to the programs
and services of the

2. Board manual, Chairperson (with

structure and assistance form designated
governance board members and senior
• Review contents of staff)
manual and discuss
board responsibilities
• opportunity for

3. Committee Orientation Committee Chairperson

• Committee orientation
• Task assignments
• Review of committee
terms of reference &

4. Facility and Program Executive Director (with

Visit(s) assistance from other staff
• Familiarize new member and/or volunteers)
with facilities, activities
and individuals (paid Chairperson (if there is no
and volunteer) involved paid senor staff)
in the organization.

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

Contents of a Board Orientation Manual

1. Table of Contents • Contents of manual

• All pages should be numbered
The contents of a board manual
and dated
will vary with the model of board
governance/style of operations

2. Mission Statement • Include information about the

organization’s values and beliefs
3. History/Background • Fact sheet
• Organization’s history
• Minutes and annual report/audit
of the previous year
• Pocket containing brochures/other
promotional materials
4. Board Structure/Operations • Meeting and special event
information for current year (days,
dates, location)
• Board and committee structure chart
• Board agenda format
• Board member job description
5. Bylaws • Constitution
• Bylaws
6. Policy Manual • Framework policies and long-term
• Board self-governance policies
• Operational policies
• Advocacy policies
7. Financial Summary • Annual budget
• Annual audit
• Investments
• Property
• Insurance
• Fiscal calendar
• Summary of funding sources
8. Board Committees For each committee include:
• Committee terms of reference
• Committee year-end reports, goals
and objectives for current year
9. Board List • Name, position, length of service
• Addresses and phone numbers
• Biographies

Board Development CHAPTER 2 Orienting, Training and Developing the Board

Training/ location are appropriate. A neutral

individual, facilitating the discussion,
DIALOGUE allows all board members to
participate equally in the training.
As board members gain experience
and face new challenges, additional
training and discussion opportunities Retreats
for individuals, as well as the board
Retreats often provide time for
team, often increases effectiveness and
the discussion required for board
interest. Opportunities might include:
members to get to know each other, to
• Information sessions at explore new ideas, and to plan for the
board meetings future. Many boards hold an annual
• Inservice training and workshops weekend retreat. Other boards hold
• Retreats several one-day mini-retreats. Invest
• External workshops and in an external facilitator or resource
conferences person so that all board members can
• Books, audiovisual materials, participate equally in the discussions.
and electronic resources If possible, charter a bus to take board
• Distance education members to the retreat location.
This provides a stress-free journey
• Meetings reserved for reflection
and allows more time for informal
and unstructured dialogue
discussions. Board members arrive
These activities are described in more feeling refreshed and ready to work.
detail below.

External Workshops
Information Sessions and Conferences
at Board Meetings Individual board members often
Many boards schedule short benefit from attending specific
information sessions, before or external training events that relate
after formal meeting times, to stay to their board role. Provide funds
informed. Use board members, staff, to assist the board member with the
or outside resource people to facilitate training event, or identify other ways
these sessions. Researching and to compensate the person. Corporate
preparing materials for these sessions sponsors and foundations sometimes
can be a useful development activity offer bursaries for training events.
for individual board members.
Ask the individual board member
to write a report, give a presentation,
Inservice Training or find another way to share the
and Workshops information he or she gained at the
Schedule special sessions to address conference or workshop with the
issues that require more time to rest of the board.
explore in depth. Consider a needs
assessment to make sure that the
format, content, process, time, and

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

Books, Audiovisual Progressively Varied and

Materials, and Electronic Responsible Assignments
Resources As board members develop within
There are many excellent print and their roles, the needs and issues
electronic resources that can assist which initially motivated them to join
not-for-profit organizations. There are the board may change or disappear.
also a variety of materials that explore The board must make new challenges
transferable concepts from other and experiences available to sustain
sectors. Review books and magazines, their involvement.
circulate resource lists, and make
board members aware of materials, Identifying what each board member
both within your organization and wants to be involved in, and what
in specialized resource centers. roles would best match their interests
and skills can be done in a number
of ways. One way is to have the Board
Distance Education and Committee Chair regularly review
Use teleconferences, video- with each member their satisfaction
conferencing, self-directed learning with their role and the associated
resources, and other methods activities. Regular self-evaluation
of development to assist board by individuals also encourages
members who may be geographically development.
isolated or wish to use asynchronous Many people thrive on more
opportunities for learning. “One of the constant lessons of
responsibility, while others are happy leadership is that people grow
to continue doing the same thing. with responsibility and are
capable of far more than what
Some individuals are motivated
appears on the surface.”
through involvement in new issues – Brian O’Connell
or functions. The key to maintaining
involvement is to make sure that
different and changing needs are
recognized and met. The matching
of board and committee skills and
needs with board tasks and projects
is an important role for both the
Board and the Committee Chairs.

Board Development CHAPTER 2 Orienting, Training and Developing the Board

to do
Matching Board Members’ No Thank You
Skills and Needs Things the board member doesn’t want
One of the biggest challenges for a to do. Remember there are some tasks
Board Chairperson or a Committee which are mandatory to the board role.
Chair is learning how to place the
right board member in the right job. The Chair’s task is to assign board
The future success of your board members to projects and committees
depends on a good fit between the that tap into one or two of the Glad
board member and the assigned tasks. Gifts and provides an opportunity to
annually develop at least one Quest
Consider the direct approach. area. You will want to avoid No Thank
Volunteers will gladly do what they You’s or at the very least, acknowledge
enjoy. To find out what board members that there is an element of No Thank
want to do, talk to them about the skills You’s in many desirable jobs.
they want to give to your organization
and those they want to learn from -Adapted from the work of Ivan Scheier
your organization. A simple technique
for gathering this information is
described below.
Glad Gifts Recognition is a critical aspect of
“Most people do not drop out List all of the activities, interests, and board development and retention.
from overwork. They drop out skills that the person would like to Board members need to be recognized
from boredom.” contribute to your board and to your
– Harold Seymour and to receive feedback on their
organization. List the gifts the board performance. Recognition measures
important member willingly offers. effort and success. Use ongoing and
timely recognition to encourage and
Identify the resources board
sustain board involvement.
members want to share with Quests
your organization and what
they hope to receive from List all activities, interests, and skills How do you develop a recognition
your organization. that the board member would like to strategy? Make recognition a priority.
learn or would like to influence. This Take the time and effort to recognize
represents potential areas of growth contributions on a regular basis. Make
and involvement for the board member sure that the recognition is sincere,
and will help you to plan training and specific, and appropriate to the
development activities. individual and his or her contribution.
Recognition might include:
• Thank you letters for specific
actions, as well as broader
• Verbal recognition at board,
committee, and annual
general meetings
• Board member special events and
social opportunities
• Dedication of a facility, space,

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

object, or equipment within

the organization to a board
Motivation and
member or workgroup Board Retention
• Opportunities to share
accomplishments of their board Nonprofit organizations operate with
work with each other and with highly diverse board governance
their peers models, which include varying
• Gifts of gift certificates related to amounts of oversight, planning,
the board member’s interests idea generation, connecting and important
• Communicate the board member’s decision-making. The organization’s
Lack of role clarity and
unique qualities and contributions chosen governance model affects the recognition are the most stated
to them. Show them why they are kinds and amount of direct contact reasons why people voluntarily
appreciated within the board leave paid and unpaid work.
boards have with staff, programs and
• Professional or personal Meaningful recognition needs to
operations. While an all- volunteer be personalized, timely, and
development courses
organization with a board active in suited to the needs and
• Recognition certificates management and governance requires motivation of the individual.
or plaques
hands-on and regular attention by the
• Express appreciation to the board board, Policy Governance boards that Board efforts often go
member’s family and/or employer, unrecognized because staff
where appropriate delegate all management functions to and/or front line volunteers are
a senior staff person have little direct not aware of board work or are
• Complimentary tickets to the uncomfortable in acknowledging
organization’s events connection to operations. Each of
board members.
these scenarios and those in between,
• Naming an event or award after a
board member appeal differently to each prospective
What does your board do to
• Inviting a board member to and current board member. recognize the accomplishments
participate in more challenging of individual board members?
Chait, Ryan and Taylor ( 2005) note Work groups? Committees?
tasks and projects that
acknowledge their skills that official board work is highly
episodic. The board is not required
• Nominate appropriate board “Who has ever been moved to
members for community awards to actively engage the majority of the join a board thinking- I really
time. They also describe some board want to hold this organization
• Nominate appropriate board to account? But this, of course
members for roles on regional, work as intrinsically undemanding is part of what the job demands.
provincial, or national boards, and unsatisfying, and consequently While people might agree to
or broader-based community not very motivating. At the same time join to affiliate with a mission,
they are more apt to participate
“umbrella” organizations some activities that board members when they can see the
enjoy are discouraged because they results of their work and the
Note: Many cultures/religions opportunity to have influence.”
do not fall into the range of roles
consider public recognition of (Chait, Ryan & Taylor, 2005,
played by boards or at least the p.19)
volunteer service to be offensive.
governance model of some boards.
Some individuals are simply
When recruiting board members be
uncomfortable with attention.
clear what the real expectations and
Consider how these beliefs apply
limitations of the role are in your
to volunteer board recognition in
organization’s context.
your organization.

Board Development CHAPTER 2 Orienting, Training and Developing the Board

Training, and
the Board
Board members bring a variety
of skills, values, and interests to an
organization, which can be focused
and enhanced through training
and development.

New board members benefit from a

thorough orientation to the:
• People within the organization
• Way in which the organization
and the board operates
• Key beliefs and goals that direct
the organization’s activities

Individual and group board training

develops new skills that help the board
and the individual to work effectively.
A variety of experiences and
increasingly responsible roles provide
the challenges and development
opportunities many board members
need to sustain their involvement.

Recognizing the accomplishments

of individual board members and
of the board team is important
for maintaining involvement and
enthusiasm. Formally acknowledging
progress and celebrating successes
is vital for encouraging the ongoing
participation of the board members.

C h a p t e r

Evaluating the Board

Benefits of Board Designing
important Evaluations Effective BOARD
The benefits of evaluating your PERFORMANCE
Evaluate the performance of
board and individual board
both your board and individual
members include:
board members on a regular
basis. This enhances the quality Performance reviews of the board and
and effectiveness of both • A focus on the importance of a
the board members and the board role, and the commitment its members are based on actions that
organization. that board volunteers make the board planned and the results that
• A regular review of individual and they achieved. Evaluation needs to
group work plans that makes sure look at both the:
that tasks get done, and that people
receive the support they need to • Accomplishment, product
carry out their responsibilities or results of the goal
• Accountability reviews that • Process by which the goal
demonstrate how effective the was accomplished
board and its members are in The product of a board’s efforts is
carrying out the work of the
organization the what that the board wants to
accomplish. These accomplishments
• Opportunities for recognition that
motivate and retain board members or results require concrete, measurable
goals that the board uses to measure
• Opportunities for improvement for
the board and its members its progress and products.
(Continued on page 59)
• A database of information that can
be used for future recruitment

Board Development CHAPTER 3 Evaluating the Board

to do
How Are We Doing?
In what ways does your board monitor and evaluate its work, the performance of
individual board members, and its impact on your organization?

How could your board benefit from regular evaluation activities?

What evaluation activities need to be developed to make your board more effective?

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

For example, a board that is involved • Use performance reviews to

with youth-at-risk may work towards recognize individual and board
a variety of results. The results could achievements, as well as areas for
development. Include strategies
include: to create desired change as part
• Community-based program sites of the evaluation.
• A set of revised bylaws
• A decrease in shoplifting in
the community

Evaluating the board’s process OBSERVING THE

requires the board to look at how
the goal was accomplished. Process
evaluation focuses on the timelines
and the resources that were used to Observing the
accomplish the goal. Boards also need Board’s Process
to evaluate such things as the board’s Board meetings are the primary
information gathering techniques, its discussion and decision making tool
problem-solving approaches and its of the board in governing. Enhancing
decision-making techniques. meeting effectiveness is key to
Be sure to consider both the what performance. Choose a sensitive and
and the how when evaluating the objective board member or another
work of individual board members objective individual to observe the
and the work of the board. This board’s process as it carries out its
approach gives a truer picture of what activities at a meeting. The observer
accomplishments are actually must be able to summarize and to
costing the organization. communicate the observations in a
constructive manner. The observer’s
For example, a committee focused role is not to give advice, but to
only on accomplishment might burn provide observations that can be used
out skilled volunteers or staff by for feedback and discussion.
creating unrealistic deadlines.

For example, an individual board Meeting Observer

member, who only focuses on the Checklist
process or method of work and not • Use a neutral party (paid or
the results, may accomplish little of volunteer) to assist in assessing
value for the organization. In fact, the content, use of time, flow,
this person may cost the organization and participation in regular
board meetings
time and money.
• Ask them to summarize
Use the following methods to design their observations, and make
effective evaluation tools: recommendations for improving
the meeting process
• Use job descriptions, mission
statements, board goals, and
committee terms of reference
to develop evaluation criteria.

Board Development CHAPTER 3 Evaluating the Board

to do
Meeting Observer Checklist
Rate items: 1 – Poor Strengths of the meeting:
2 – Needs Work
3 – Adequate
4 – Very Good
5 – Excellent
____ Meeting scheduled at
convenient time/location
____ Majority of board members
were in attendance
____ Agenda and supporting
documents circulated prior
to meeting
____ Meeting began on time
____ Agenda items relevant to
mission, goals, and objectives
of the organization
____ Agenda items related to board
work (not staff or committee Suggestions for future improvement of
____ Structure and leadership of
meeting encouraged thoughtful
____ Agenda items were clearly
identified as for information,
discussion or decision
____ Reports were tabled, and only
questions and/or discussion
related to them were considered
____ Decision-making method being
used, such as collaboration or
simple majority, was identified
before the decision was made
____ Appropriate information was
available to make decision
____ Atmosphere was relaxed
and friendly
____ All board members were
encouraged to participate
____ Motions were accurately
recorded in the minutes
____ Meeting duration was
appropriate to the needs of
the group and the issues to
be addressed
____ Staff and board members
presenting information were
prepared and effective­

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

to do
Tools for At our board meetings, we should:

Board Meeting Stop doing…

At the end of each meeting, encourage
board members to complete a brief
evaluation of the meeting. Board
members can write their responses
and give them to the secretary. The
secretary tabulates and distributes
the results with the minutes of the Continue doing…

Be sure to plan a method for dealing

with suggestions and implementing
strategies to improve board
meeting performance.

You can use the following exercises

for board meeting evaluations.
Start doing…
Exercise: Start Doing and
Stop Doing
• Take 10 minutes at the end of the
board meeting to review meeting
• Ask members to list the productive
and nonproductive parts of
the meeting by completing the
following phrases

Note: You could use a similar Exercise: After the Board to do

approach to assess other areas of Meeting Review
board work, such as planning and • Encourage board members to
fundraising. complete the following review at the
meeting or within 24 hours, so that
their observations are fresh
• May be used after every meeting,
or less frequently as a tool in
meeting planning

Board Development CHAPTER 3 Evaluating the Board

to do
Board Meeting Review
Please complete the following questions to assist in making our board meetings
more productive and enjoyable.

Meeting Date:

What was the most valuable thing accomplished by this meeting?

What did you like least about the meeting?

Topics were: Participation of Members

c Excellent c Excellent
c Good c Good
c Average c Average
c Below Average c Below Average
c Poor c Poor

Topics were related to the purpose of Enjoyable/Interesting

our organization:
c Excellent
c Excellent c Good
c Good c Average
c Average c Below Average
c Below Average c Poor
c Poor
Other Comments:
Effective use of time:
Please provide examples where
c Excellent possible.
c Good
c Average
c Below Average
c Poor

Name :

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

Board Member
Use performance reviews for
individual board members during
and at the end of their terms.

Use mid-term reviews:

• To help individual board members
to focus their efforts
• To give due recognition
• To identify training or support that
board members may required

Use end-of-term reviews:

• To help the board decide
whether the board member is
suitable, or has the desire to
serve another term
• To allow the board member to
discuss his or her satisfaction
with the board role and the
• To get suggestions to improve
the board’s future performance

The Board Chair, the Board

Development Committee, the
Nominating Committee, or
other designate board members
are responsible for coordinating
evaluation activities. Summarize
and document the evaluation and
development plan for future reference.

Use your organization’s board member

job description, combined with the
individual’s personal goals for the year,
to evaluate individual performance.

Board Development CHAPTER 3 Evaluating the Board

to do
Board Member Self-Assessment
Encourage each individual to assess their effectiveness as a board member several
times throughout their term by completing this checklist:

c I support the mission and values of c I am willing to support and help

this organization other board members in their
c I am willing to further the work development
of this organization with my time, c I am interested and willing
skills, and financial support to participate in development
c I understand the role of the opportunities including
board and my legal and ethical workshops, information
responsibilities as a board member sessions, conferences, and
taking on new roles.
c I have attended the majority
of regular and special board c I try to be an objective decision
meetings and other events maker, considering the effect
requiring board participation. of issues on individuals, the
organization, and the community.
c I prepare for meeting by reading
background materials and c I avoid participation in board
researching issues for discussion issues that are self-serving or may
be perceived as conflict of interest
c I actively participate in board
meetings by listening, discussing, c I recognize the board must “speak
and presenting complete with one voice” and I avoid taking
information as required action on issues unless instructed
by the board.
c I carry out my other board
responsibilities (e.g. committee c I enjoy my service as a board
member, fundraising, advocacy member in this organization.
and/or education in an effective If not, I am actively working to
and timely manner). the change the issues and/or
activities which are a barrier, or I
am reconsidering my commitment
to this organization.



Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

to do
Board Member Self-Assessment: End of Term Review
• May be used mid-term, at end of a tem in preparation for second term, or as a
retirement/exit interview tool.
• The individual board member completes the self-assessment to prepare for a
discussion with the Board Chair or the Board Development Committee.

End-of-Term Review
My greatest satisfaction from serving on the board this term is:

My board service, this term, improved Standing Committee Chair:

the organization’s services, finances or Which Committee?
image in the community by:

Ad hoc Committee Chair:

Which Committee?


My strengths as a board member are:

I have attended ______ of _____

regular board meetings

I have attended ______ of _____

special board meetings

I prepare for board meetings by

My weaknesses as a board reading background materials and
member are: research issues decision:

c Always
c Often
c Sometimes
c Seldom
c Never

I am an active participant in board

I am interested in serving an meetings, feel comfortable discussing
additional term: issues, and recognize the roles and
c Yes c No responsibilities of the board:
If yes, I would be interested in c Always
serving as: c Often
c Chair c Sometimes
c Vice-Chair c Seldom
c Secretary c Never
c Treasurer

Board Development CHAPTER 3 Evaluating the Board

I would like to further develop myself as a board member by:

If I do not continue to serve on the board, I would like to contribute to the

organization by:




Concerns and/or Issues:

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

Evaluating the For example, rather than evaluating

all areas of work done by the board,
Work of the the board may review meeting
Board Team effectiveness, recruitment efforts,
or resource development.
Conduct a thorough board evaluation
at least once a year. The Board For example, short, one-issue
Development Committee, the evaluations might be done at board
Nominating Committee, an Ad Hoc meetings. Evaluations of more
Committee of the board, or an outside extensive activities might be done
facilitator coordinates this review. through a written questionnaire that is
Schedule the review to coincide reviewed and discussed at a retreat or
with the annual evaluation of the a special meeting.
senior staff person, and before annual
planning events or the annual general Assessing the Work of
meeting. Present the results to the the Board Team
board, along with a plan for dealing
Use the following evaluation to
with the issues of concern. Use the
identify your board’s strengths
results to plan future training and
and areas for future areas for future
recruiting strategies.
improvement. One process you can
Effective boards routinely review how use is to:
well they are carrying out: • Have each board member
• Their core responsibilities individually complete the
as a board questionnaire.
• Their plans for the year • Identify one person to compile the
results and comments.
• Specific aspects of their work
• Set time aside to have the board
Such reviews motivates the board by: discuss the results.
• Develop strategies to make the
• Recognizing achievements
desired changes. Put the strategies
• Identifying tasks which need in your board’s annual work plan.
further attention
• Monitor and evaluate your
• Focusing the working committees progress.
and individuals

Board evaluation is often based on

the annual goals and the workplan
that the board has set for itself.
Periodic reviews leave no surprises
at year-end. Some reviews focus only
on areas that are of most concern to
the board at the time.

Board Development CHAPTER 3 Evaluating the Board

to do
Board Evaluation
Comments on strengths
or ideas for improvement

The board operates with c Yes

clearly defined: c No
• Mission and Goals
c Don’t Know
• Bylaws

Board members c Yes

understand their own c No
and each other’s role and c Don’t Know

Job descriptions have c Yes

been developed and are c No
used for: c Don’t Know
• Individual board
• Executive positions
• Committee

The board uses c Yes

committees and/or work c No
groups to divide board c Don’t Know
work fairly or delegates
appropriately to staff

Committees have a Terms c Yes

of Reference statement c No
which defines their roles c Don’t Know
and responsibilities

Board members follow c Yes

through on plans and c No
commitments c Don’t Know
Board members c Yes
understand their legal/ c No
fiduciary obligations and c Don’t Know
ensure they are being met

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

Board Evaluation continued

Comments on strengths
or ideas for improvement

The board composition c Yes

reflects our community c No
diversity c Don’t Know

The board represents c Yes

the interests of c No
the organizations’ c Don’t Know
Board members are c Yes
elected for a specific / c No
limited term c Don’t Know

Recruitment of effective c Yes

board member nominees c No
is a year round activity c Don’t Know

Trusting and respectful c Yes

relationships exist c No
between board members c Don’t Know
and other individuals
within the organization

Individual board c Yes

members are evaluated c No
annually to assess and c Don’t Know
recognize the skills
and time they have
contributed and to
identify the role they
will play in the future

The board evaluates c Yes

its work annually in c No
relationship to the goals c Don’t Know
and plans they have made

The board communicates c Yes

clearly and regularly c No
with appropriate staff, c Don’t Know
volunteers, funders, and
the wider community

Board Development CHAPTER 3 Evaluating the Board

Board Evaluation continued

Comments on strengths
or ideas for improvement

Written policies to guide c Yes

decision making exist c No
and are organized in a c Don’t Know
policy manual

Policies exist in the c Yes

areas of: c No
• Personnel (paid c Don’t Know
and volunteer)
• Finances
• Programs and
• Policy Development

Board meetings deal c Yes

primarily with developing c No
policy, planning, c Don’t Know
developing financial
resources, advocacy,
and evaluating the
organization’s work

The board has a written c Yes

plan that is used to c No
monitor and evaluate the c Don’t Know
organization’s direction

All board members are c Yes

encouraged to participate c No
in discussions c Don’t Know
Conflict is dealt with c Yes
openly, respectfully and c No
effectively c Don’t Know
The board makes sure c Yes
adequate resources are c No
available to undertake the c Don’t Know
work of the organization

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

Board Evaluation continued

The board is operating effectively by:

Areas which could be made more effective are:

Board Development CHAPTER 3 Evaluating the Board

Board Evaluation continued

Areas for Improvement:

Issue Start Complete Delegated To Resources

Date Date Required

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

Evaluating summary

the Board
Regular evaluation of the performance
of individual board members, and
of the board as a whole, helps to
reinforce activities that are going
well, and to focus or to initiate future
actions. Evaluations of the whole
board can be done internally or
they can be conducted by an
external evaluator not connected
to the organization. Self-evaluation
tools are an effective method of doing
individual assessments. The Board
Chair is responsible for initiating
whatever evaluation process is used.

In addition to evaluating the board’s

and individual board member’s
performance, board evaluation is
the starting point for the next
board recruiting cycle.


Guidelines for Bylaws and Policies for Electing,
Training, and Evaluating Board Members

The bylaws and policy manual Nomination Board and Committee

of your organization need to Your organization’s bylaws and Structure
clearly explain board composition policies need to define deadlines, Your organization’s bylaws define
and recruitment. Look for the rules, responsibilities, and the structure of the board and
following information in your procedures for the nomination how it uses its committees. Use
board manual. and election process. this information to determine how
many board members need to be
Status of the Nominating recruited, and what qualities these
Who May Serve individuals must have.
Committee on the Board
The Board Development Your organization’s bylaws need to
Committee or Nominating clearly define the eligibility criteria Electing Board Members
Committee is a permanent for board members. This prevents
standing committee of the board. hard feelings or conflict-of-interest The membership generally
The bylaws define this committee’s situations. elects board members at the
responsibilities. organization’s Annual General
In most membership Meeting. Each member in good
organizations, any member in good standing has one vote for
Nominating Committee standing may be nominated for
Composition each ballot.
a board role. This would exclude
A board member chairs the those who do not qualify because Complex societies with
Nominating Committee. This of serving a maximum number geographical or sectional
board member is often a past of terms, or paid staff members membership can elect board
president, and has a broad base of or their families, who may be in a members in a different way.
knowledge about the organization. conflict-of-interest situation. Some The bylaws can state that certain
The remainder of the committee organizations allow staff to hold sub-groups of the membership
is usually composed of the board membership in a non-voting must elect the board members.
organization’s members who may, capacity.
or may not, serve on the board. For example: A provincial
Staff usually are not included on organization with regional groups
the committee. The size and exact Size of the Board in Alberta can ask that the regional
composition of the committee Your organization’s bylaws define groups elect the members of the
must fit your organization. the minimum and maximum board. The members from each
Your major concern is to choose numbers of board members region can assemble and vote for a
a committee that considers its needed to represent your board member at the AGM. As an
task important, and that is able to organization. Your organization’s alternative, the members from each
represent the membership fairly. board size needs to be sufficient region can hold separate meetings
to manage the board workload, to at different times and places to
make informed decisions, and to elect the board members.
meet a quorum requirement. The bylaws can ask that there be a
number of board members from
certain sectors, even though the
membership-at-large elects the
board members at the AGM.

Board Development APPENDIX 1 Guidelines for Bylaws and Policies for Electing, Training, and Evaluating Board Members

For example: In an organization member. Acclaim only those For example: Assume your board
with ordinary, senior and junior people who receive more yes than has nine members. You want to
members, the bylaws might specify no votes, and fill vacant positions have board members serve three-
the board makeup. The board must at a later date. year terms, with three board
have at least two board members members elected every year. In
from the senior members and at the first year of the society, or in
least two board members from the
Terms of Office the year you amend the bylaws to
junior members. Your organization’s bylaws need provide for staggered terms, you
to specify terms of office for board would elect:
There are other possibilities. The members. Most organizations
entire membership may vote • Three board members
limit the length and number of
by write-in vote. Persons could for one-year term
terms that an individual may
become board members by virtue • Three board members
serve. Specified terms allow board
of their office, such as presidents for two-year terms
members to plan ahead, and many
of regional bodies. • Three board members
prospective board members are for three-year terms
You may devise any system that more likely to say yes to a finite,
is logical and workable for your rather than an indefinite, length In year two, and in all following
society, as long as your bylaws of service. This planned turnover years, there will be three vacancies
and policies clearly explain it. of members also allows for new on the board to fill at the AGM.
blood and fresh ideas. Although
Many organizations allow board
many organizations use one-year
members to serve for several
Acclamation terms, two- or three-year terms
terms. You may want to appoint
Make every effort to nominate provide for better continuity and
or elect willing and effective
more prospective board members development. However, the length
board members to a second term.
than there are vacancies on your of the terms must meet the specific
Conduct an evaluation of the
board. Winning by acclamation needs of your organization.
board member’s performance
is seldom a good solution. Some and the needs of the organization
If the terms are longer than one
acclaimed board members feel before you reappoint the board
year, it is a good idea to have
that they have less power to make member. Second terms are not
staggered terms of office. Terms
decisions than those who have automatic. Most organizations also
of the board members overlap
been elected. require board members to resign
so that a proportion of the board
As an alternative to acclamation, comes up for election each year. for a minimum of one year before
use the skills of unsuccessful The membership influences the serving for a third term.
candidates on committees, on makeup of the board and indicates
If your organization is
projects, or in service volunteer whether they want change.
implementing a policy on Terms of
roles. Through this experience, However, there is stability, since
Office, and has many long-serving
these people may become future the entire board will not change
board members, ask the board
board members. in any one year.
members to draw lots to decide
If acclamation is your only option, who will serve one-, two-, or three-
distribute ballots on which board year terms. Any future recruits to
members write yes or no beside the board then serve under the
each name of a prospective board terms of the new policy.

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

Rotation of the Conditions for meeting. A general meeting can

Executive and Remaining a Board remove a board member, but this
Committee Chair Member in Good can create division and animosity
Positions Standing for a long time. Your bylaws should
Define the executive and In your board policy, document have some safeguards and stringent
committee chair terms, because the specific expectations of board requirements for removing a
board candidates are often members, as well as the action board member.
recruited for their ability to serve that is taken if they do not follow
Here are appropriate safeguards:
in specific roles. You can define procedures. You may not be able
this as a procedure for planning, to measure all of the expectations, • If other board members can
or spell it out in your bylaws. but there are some that are remove a board member,
then there must be a special
Whichever method you important to measure. meeting of the board. There
choose, make all prospective must be notice to all board
For example, expectations for
board members aware of the members, including the board
board members could include: member being removed. There
• The minimum number must be a special majority, such
For example, on one board, the of meetings that a board as three-fourths, to remove the
board chair is expected to serve member must attend board member.
for a two-year term, followed by • Willingness to serve on one or • If the way to remove a board
a one-year term as past chair. more board committees member is by a general
meeting, then use the rules
On another board, the board • Support of and participation in for giving notice for a motion.
fund raising activities A simple majority is sufficient
chose to stagger the terms
of executive roles, so that all Other more difficult measures can to remove a board member at a
general meeting.
experienced members do be included in a board member
not leave at the same time. • Take special care if the board
assessment at the middle or end
member represents a segment
of a term. of the organization, such as the
You may also wish to specify
prerequisites for holding executive junior members. It may
be appropriate to allow only
and committee chair positions. Removal and Resignation that segment to remove that
of Board Members board member.
For example, the board chair
must have previously served as The bylaws must address
vice-chair, or all members must resignation and removal
serve as an ad hoc or standing from office.
committee chair, before moving A board member may resign by
to an Executive position. New giving notice in writing, with a
members seldom serve on the fairly short period of time
Executive, unless they have required for the notice.
considerable experience with the
organization and / or the role. Removal is a difficult issue
that requires special care. The
membership elects a board
member, usually at the AGM. If
anyone else removes the board
member, it means that person is
overturning the will of the general

Board Development APPENDIX 1 Guidelines for Bylaws and Policies for Electing, Training, and Evaluating Board Members

Filling a Midterm Vacancy

on the Board
The bylaws must state how to fill a
vacancy if a board member resigns,
dies or is removed from office.

There are several possibilities:

• The rest of the board may
appoint someone to serve the
remainder of the term of the
departing member.
• The rest of the board may
appoint someone to serve
the term until the next
general meeting.
• The general meeting that
removes a board member
from office may appoint
someone to serve the
remainder of the term.
• The sector or local who
appointed or elected the board
member may appoint or select
someone to serve the remainder
of the term.
• The organization may leave
the vacancy unfilled, providing
that there is still a quorum for
the board.

Sample: Board Member Job Description

9. Support of, and participation 7. Approve the hiring and release

in, fund-raising events. of the executive director,
(Name of Organization) 10. Financial support of including the executive
(Name of the Organization). director’s employment contract,
based on the recommendation
Job Description of the Personnel Committee.
Term 8. Support and participate in
Position: Board Members are elected by the evaluating the executive
membership at the Annual General director.
Board Member
Meeting. Board Members serve for 9. Support and participate in
a two-year term. Board Members fund raising activities.
Authority and may be released at the end of 10. Assist in developing and
Responsibility the elected term, by resigning, maintaining positive relations
among the Board, committees,
The Board of Directors is the or according to (Name of the staff members, and community
legal authority of (Name of the Organization)’s bylaws. to enhance (Name of the
Organization). As a member of Organization)’s mission.
the Board, a Board member acts
in a position of trust for the
General Duties
community, and is responsible A Board Member is fully Evaluation
for the effective governance of informed on organizational A Board Member’s performance
the organization. matters, and participates in the is evaluated annually based on the
Board’s deliberations and decisions performance of assigned Board
in matters of policy, finance, requirements and duties.
Requirements programs, personnel and advocacy.
Requirements of Board
membership include:
The Board Member will: Review Date and
1. Approve, where appropriate,
Approval Date
1. Commitment to the work of the policy; and other The Personnel Committee annually
organization. recommendations received reviews the Board member job
2. Knowledge and skills in one from the Board, its standing description.
or more areas of Board committees and senior staff.
governance: policy, finance, 2. Monitor all Board policies. Recommended changes are
programs, personnel, and presented to the Board.
advocacy. 3. Review the bylaws and policy
manual, and recommend bylaw
3. Willingness to serve on changes to the membership. Approval Date:
4. Review the Board’s structure,
4. Attendance at monthly Board approve changes, and prepare
meetings. Review Date:
necessary bylaw amendments.
5. Attendance at meetings of 5. Participate in the development Note: A Board Member job
assigned committees. of (Name of the Organization)’s description for boards without
6. Attendance at Annual General organizational plan and management staff also needs
Meetings. annual review. to spell out management or
7. Attendance at membership 6. Approve (Name of the operational duties expected
meetings. Organization)’s budget. of board members.
8. Support of special events.

Board Composition Analysis Tool:
Recruitment Profile Composition Review (Detailed)

This board composition analysis 1. Customize the grid for your 4. Remember, some desired
tool helps identify the skills, board by listing indicators qualities will likely change each
experience, contacts and values relevant to the work of your year depending upon the needs
organization. Insert the names of the organization.
members of the board bring to of current board members.
the organization. It can be used Use the first grid as an example.
2. Use the grid to assess the
to develop a profile of the board qualities and indicators which
members, and to evaluate and Use the second grid as a tool to
describe each board member.
identify their areas of influence. customize for your organization.
3. Identify which board members
This tool is useful in identifying will be retiring or resigning and
the types of people the board consider the attributes your
needs to effectively govern the board will be losing when
organization. they leave.

Board Composition Review – Example

Qualities Indicators Current Board Future Board

Supports the Values • Past or current member

and Mission of the of organization
Organization • Demonstrated support
of activities that further
the mission

Personal • Positive and

Qualities constructive
• Able to work as part
of a team
• Future oriented
• Willing to be involved
in training and

Time and Financial • Able to devote adequate

Support time and energy
• Willing to be involved
in fund-raising
and other resource
development activities

Area of Influence • Corporate and business

• Local media
• Unions
• Political
• Funders
• Government
• Other not-for-profit

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

Board Composition Review – Example

Qualities Indicators Current Board Future Board

Specific Skills • Constitution/Bylaws

• Policy development
• Planning
• Board recruitment
• Grantsmanship
• Annual giving
• Planned giving
• Capital giving
• Other fundraising
• Budgeting/Fiscal control
• Contracting/
• Advocacy/Lobbying
• Public relations
• Development/Training
Board Committee • Finance
• Personnel
• Nominating
• Resource Development

Gender • Female
• Male

Age • Over 65
• 51-65
• 36-50
• 21-35
• Under 21

Experience • Years on the Board

• Years active in other
roles within the

Board Development APPENDIX 3 Board Composition Analysis Tool: Recruitment Profile Composition Review (Detailed)

Board Composition Review

Qualities Indicators Current Board Future Board

Supports the values

and mission of the

Personal Qualities

Time and Financial


Area of Influence

Specific Skills

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

Board Composition Review

Qualities Indicators Current Board Future Board

Board Committee




AGM: An abbreviation for Nominating Committee: A

Annual General Meeting which standing, or ongoing, committee
is the yearly meeting of the of the board that recruits potential
organization’s membership. board members and presents the
New board members are elected nominees to the board and to
at the annual general meeting. the membership. They may also
organize the election at the
Board Members: Individuals who
annual general meeting.
are elected or appointed to govern
Other responsibilities could
the organization.
include orienting and training
Chair: Used interchangeably with board members. This group is
terms Chairperson, Chairman, sometimes referred to as the Board
Chairwoman, or President. Development Committee or the
Leadership Committee.
Executive Committee: Acts
on behalf of the Board within Service Volunteers: Individuals
the powers granted to it by the who volunteer their time and
full Board. Might consist of the skills to implement programs and
Chairperson, Vice-Chair, services.
Secretary and Treasurer. This
group is sometimes referred
to as the executive.

In boards without executive

directors, or other paid
management staff, this committee
may manage the organization.
This volunteer group is sometimes
referred to as the Management

Ex Officio: By virtue of office. For

example, the Chairperson of the
board is an ex officio member of
all board committees because of
their position. They may choose
to be involved in providing and/or
seeking information.


Alberta Culture and Community Victoria, BC: Trafford, 2005. all governance. Toronto, ON: John
Spirit and Grant MacEwan College. Wiley & Sons, 2001.
Grumman-Nelson, J.
Board Development Program
Six Keys to Recruiting, Orienting, Seel, K. & Iffrig, A. Being a
Foundation Handouts.Sixth edition.
and Involving Nonprofit Board governor: A process for board
Edmonton, Alberta: Government
Members. Washington, D.C.: development: Calgary, AB: Mt.
of Alberta, 2008.
National Centre for Nonprofit Royal College Institute for
Alberta Culture and Community Boards, 1991. Nonprofit Studies. 2006 retrieved
Spirit and The Muttart Foundation. from
Hardy, James M. Developing
Board Development Information nonprofitinstitute/resources.shtml
Dynamic Boards. Erwin, Tennessee:
Bulletin. Edmonton, Alberta:
Essex Press, 1990. Tyler Scott, K. Creating caring and
Government of Alberta, 1993-2008.
capable boards: Reclaiming the
Holland, T.P. & Hester, D.C.
Alberta Culture and Community passion of active trusteeship. San
Building effective boards for
Spirit and The Muttart Foundation. Francisco: Jossey Bass, 2000.
religious organizations: A handbook
Developing Job Descriptions for
for trustees, presidents and church
Board Members of Nonprofit
leaders. San Francisco: Jossey- Bass,
Organizations. Edmonton, Alberta:
Government of Alberta, 2008.
Houle, C.O. Governing Boards:
Alberta Culture and Community
Their Nature and Nurture. San
Spirit and The Muttart Foundation.
Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass,
Drafting and Revising Bylaws
for Not-for-profit Organizations
In Alberta. Edmonton, Alberta: Hutchinson, B. How to be a
Government of Alberta, 2008. Winning Board. Edmonton,
Alberta: Alberta Association of
Duca, D. J. Nonprofit Boards:
Rehabilitation Centres, 1984.
A Practical Guide to Roles,
Responsibilities and Performance. Murray, V. (Ed.). Management
New York: John Wiley & Sons, of nonprofit and charitable
1996. organizations in Canada.
Markham, ON: LexisNexis Canada,
Chait, R. P., Holland, .T P.,
& Taylor, B. E. Improving the
Performance of Governing Boards. Nordhoff, N. S., Fundamental
Phoenix, Arizona: The Oryx Press, Practices for Success with Volunteer
1996. Boards of Non-Profit-Organizations.
Seattle, Washington: Fun Prax
Chait, R. P., Ryan, W. P., & Taylor,
Associates, 1982
B. E. Leadership as Governance:
Reframing the work of nonprofit O’Connell, B. The Board
boards. Toronto: John Wiley & Member’s Book. The
Sons, 2005. Foundation Centre, 1985.
Gil, M. Governing for results: A Robinson, M.K. Nonprofit boards
director’s guide to good governance. that work: The end of one-size-fits-

Board Development RESOURCES

The following organizations offer

free Canadian online resources
related to nonprofit board
governance and the themes
of this workbook.

The Board
Development Program

The Muttart Foundation

The Resource Centre for

Voluntary Organizations (RCVO)
Grant MacEwan College

The Centre for

Community Leadership
Niagara College

Non-Profit Sector
Leadership Program
Dalhousie University

Board Development
United Way of Canada
– Centraide Canada

Voluntary Sector Knowledge

Network (VSKN)
Centre for Non Profit
Victoria, BC


A members of, Clientele, 15

See Members, of board as board members, 41-42
Acclamation, 76 size of, 75
Accountability reviews, 57 Board banks, 35 of board members, 57, 79
See also Evaluation financial,
Board Development Committee
Activities See Financial support
See Nominating Committee
of organization, 25 of members, 17
Board team time,
Advocacy evaluation of, 67-73 See Time commitment
by board members, 20, 26
Books Committees, 37
Age groups, 20, 68, 80-1 use in training, 52 in board evaluation, 67-68, 80
See also Young people in job descriptions, 79, 80-83
Budget, 37, 79 new members on, 48
of meetings, 59, 60 Business employees in orientation manual, 51
as volunteers, 35 unsuccessful candidates on, 76
Altruism, 24
Bylaws, 9, 12 Community
Annual General Meeting board evaluation and, 67 board members and, 18, 20
attendance at, 79 for board members, 75-79 communication with, 69
definition of, 84 decision making and, 14 image in, 15-16
election of board at, 10, 11 in job descriptions, 79 leaders, as source of recruits, 35
evaluation of board and, 67, 75, in orientation manuals, 51 needs, 8, 11, 13, 25, 75
77 terms of office in, 41 representation on board, 7, 13,
See Evaluation Competition, among boards, 8
Audiovisual materials Conferences
in orientation, 53 Campaigns, 15 attendance by board members,
in training, 52 52
Career development
board membership as, 25 Conflict
Chair among board members, 70
of board, 75 of interest, 33, 41, 64, 75
Benefits board needs and, 12 Consultants
of board evaluation, 57 of committees, 75 role of, 43, 44
of board membership, 23, 24, definition of, 84
25, 30, 44, 45 new board members and, 53 Consumers
role in evaluation activities, 63 as board members, 42
composition analysis tool, role in recruiting, 9, 10, 12 Corporate employees
23-24, 80-83 role of, 75 as volunteers, 35
composition of, 68 Change, 37, 59
evaluation of, 12, 57-63 Critics
goals of, 58-59 Churches recruitment of, 36
as source of recruits, 36
Board Development INDEX

D Evaluation G
of board members, 63-65,
Death 75-78, 79, 80 Gender
of board member, 77 of board team, 67-72 of board members, 68, 80, 83

Decision making of boards, 57-63 Geographical membership, 76

board member evaluation and, design of, 56-59
effect on recruitment, 67 Glad gifts, 54
by board members, 14 effect on training, 67 Goals
board size and, 75 of executive director, 79 of board, 56-59, 69
evaluation of, 59 process, 59 of board members, 63
at meetings, 60 Ex officio evaluation and, 67
policies regarding, 70 definition of, 84 of organization, 59, 67
Democratic participation, 26 Executive Committee, 14, 40, 77 Government, of organization, 13,
definition of, 84 14, 20, 80
See also Distance education; Executive director, 15, 79 Graduates
Learning, lifelong; Orientation; of services, as board members,
Training 26
of board, 12
F Group orientation, 48, 49
of board members, 54, 59, 64
of leadership, 30-31, 45 Facilitators
of resources, 80 for board retreats, 52
stages, 14-15 H
Fair exchange, 23, 26-27, 44, 45
Distance education Hands-tied contributors
Families as board members, 43
for board members, 52
of clients, 41-42
Diversity of staff, 75 Hard-to-recruit boards, 44, 45
in board, 68 Human Resources Department
Feedback, 54
of representation, 42 See Nominating Committee
on meetings, 59

Finances, 37
E in orientation manual, 51 I
policies regarding, 70
Educational institutions Image
as source of recruits, 35 Financial support of organization, 8, 15, 16, 17, 31
by board members, 19, 37, 64,
Election Influence, areas of, 20, 80, 83
79, 80, 82
of board members, 11, 12, 39,
75-78, Funders, 37 Information gathering, 59
communication with, 69
Electronic resources Inservices, 52
in training, 52 Fundraising, 19, 37
in composition review, 80
Eligibility criteria
in job descriptions, 79, 80 J
See Selection criteria
orientation and, 48
Job descriptions, 37, 79
Future decision making and, 14
orientation to, 18 in evaluation, 59, 63, 67

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

L community representation reappointment of, 76

among, 7 recognition of, 54, 57
Leadership death of, 77 removal of, 77
development of, 30-31, 45 decision making by, 64 resignation of, 77, 80
in fundraising, 19 definition of, 84 responsibilities of, 39, 53, 64
Leadership Committee departing, 77 retirement of, 80
See Nominating Committee development of retiring, 33, 34
See Development selection criteria for
Learning, lifelong, 18, 25 duties of, 79 See Selection criteria
Letterhead board members, 44 election of, 11, 12, 39, 75-78 self-assessment by, 64
ethnocultural representation of, skills of
Liability, 8, 44 80 See Skills
insurance, 37 evaluation of. socio-economic status of, 20
See Evaluation sources of, 10, 33-36
Lifelong learning
expectations of, 8, 77 specific skills of
See Learning, lifelong
experience of, 7, 80, 81, 83 See Specific skills
Lobbying, by board members, 20 families of clients as, 41-42 staff as, 40-41, 75
families of staff as, 40-41 standing of, 77
financial support by. support for organization by,
M See Financial support 18-19
former, 41 terms of office
Management, of organization, former staff as, 40-41 See Terms of office
13, 40 fundraising by time commitment of. See Time
See also Government, See Fundraising commitment
of organization gender of, 80, 81, 83 training of
Management Committee geographical location of, 19 See Training
See Executive Committee influence in community, 20, 80, turnover of, 24, 76
81 values of, 7, 25
Manager, paid, 16 integrity of, 17
Members, of organization
Manuals involvement of, 53, 54
board recruitment and, 12
orientation, 51-52 knowledge of, 26, 79
commitment of, 18
policy, 70, 79 legal obligations of, 80
See also Liability Mentors
Meetings letterhead, 44 for new board members, 53
See also Annual General list of, 52
Meeting lobbying by, 20 Minutes, of meetings, 60
attendance at, 59, 64, 79 management skills of, 13 Mission, 37
evaluation of, 70 motivation of, 23, 24, 45, 53, 57 change in, 15
information sessions at, 52 needs of, 54 in evaluation, 67, 81, 82
procedures for, 48 networking by, 20 in meeting agendas, 59
process evaluation of, 59-63 in new organizations, 14 in member orientation, 48, 50
special general, 77 non-voting, 75 relationship to community, 8,
orientation of 35
Members, of board
See Orientation in selection criteria, 17
ages of, 20, 80, 81, 83
qualities of, 7, 10, 12, 17-20, self-assessment and, 64
clients as, 41-42
22-23, 32, 33, 34, 39, 40, 75, statements, 59
commitment of, 57, 76
80, 81, 83

Board Development INDEX

Motivation P Programs, 37
of board members, 23-24, 45, policies regarding, 73
53, 57 Paid staff
See Staff, of organization Projects
Multimedia materials new members assigned to, 48
in orientation, 52 Performance reviews, 56, 63-66. skills needed for, 15
See also Accountability reviews; unsuccessful candidates on, 76
N Personnel
See Members, of board; Service Q
volunteers; Staff, of
of board members, 54 Qualities
of community See under Members, of board
See under Community Personnel Committee
Quests, 54
of organization, 13-14, 18, 22, See Nominating Committee
76, 80 Quorum, 75
Personnel Department
Needs assessment See Nominating Committee
for training, 51
Plans, of organization R
Networking, 31 board qualities and, 10, 15
by board members, 20 Recognition
Policies of board members, 54, 55, 57
No thank you’s, 54 decision making and, 14 performance reviews and, 59
development of, 37
Nominating Committee Records, 12
election of board members, 75
definition of, 84
in job descriptions, 77 Recruiting teams, 39
duties of, 75
Nominating Committee and, 12
role in evaluation, 63, 67 Recruitment
in orientation manual, 51
role in job descriptions, 77, 78 annual plan of, 8-12
recruitment, 9
role in recruiting, 8-11, 39, 40, coordination of, 8
regarding board members,
45 criteria for, 21
Non-voting membership, 75 regarding programs, 70 See also Selection criteria
customization of, 39, 40
Policy manual, 51, 70, 77 influence of evaluation on, 67
policies, 40
O President
responsibility for, 8, 11-13
See Chair
Objectives sources, 33-36
See Goals; Mission Problem solving, 59
Objectivity Process evaluation, 59 of board members, 77
of new board members, 48 of meetings, 59-62
Orientation Professionals See Image
of board members, 10, 39, 48, as board members, 43
52, 55 as source of recruits, 35
of board members, 77, 80
to future, 18
Resource centres, 81
See Image

Recruiting and Developing Effective Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations

Resource development, 81 Societal needs Time commitment, 18, 19, 37

See also Fundraising See Community needs board composition review and,
81, 82
Retired, recruitment of, 35 Specialists
evaluation of, 69
as board members, 43, 44
Retirement leadership development and, 30
of board members, 80 Specific skills, 17, 19, 26, 30, 35 self-assessment and, 64
board composition review and,
Retreats, 51, 52 Training
80, 81
of board members, 47, 51-52,
Reviews needs matched with, 54
54, 75-78
See Accountability reviews; self-assessment of, 64
influence of evaluation on, 67
Evaluation; Performance
Staff, of organization
reviews Turnover, of board members, 25,
as board members, 40, 41, 75
on Nominating Committee, 75
paid, 14, 40
S relationship to board, 37, 69
role in recruitment, 13
Secretary, 61
Vacancies, midterm, 77
Sectors of membership, 75 Standing
of board members, 77 Values
Selection criteria, 10, 12, 13, 16, of board members, 8, 25
32-36, 75 Standing committees, 11
of organization, 25, 64, 81, 82
Self-directed learning, 52 Strategic planning, 37
Volunteer centres
Self-evaluation Structure as source of recruits, 35
by board members, 53, 64 of board, 37, 40, 77
Volunteers, 13, 37, 69
of meetings, 60
Semi-retired, recruitment of, 35 of organization, 8, 52 Voting
Service clubs write-in, 75
as source of recruits, 36
Service volunteers, 14, 40 W
as board members, 43 Team
definition of, 84 board as, 16, 67-73 Work plans
unsuccessful candidates as, 76 players, 19-20 evaluation of, 57, 67
work, 81
Services, 28, 37 Workload
policies regarding, 70 Teleconferences, 52 of board, 75

Shopping list, for board members, Terms of office, 8, 10, 41, 69, 76-77 Workshops, 51, 52
13 Terms of reference
Skills of board members
See Job descriptions Y
development of, 25, 41
evaluation of, 80, 81 of committees, 68 Young people, 30, 42, 45
in special projects, 15-16
specific. See Specific skills

The Board Development Workbook Series

Board Building – Recruiting and Developing Effective

Board Members for Not-for-Profit Organizations
1. What made this workbook useful to you/your organization?

2. What would make the workbook more useful?

3. What changes has your organization made as a result of using this workbook?

4. What future topics would you like included in this workbook series?

5. Other comments (for further comments, please use the back of this page).

Optional Information:
Name: Title:



City: Postal Code:

Phone: Fax:

Please return this completed form to:

Board Development Program
Alberta Culture and Community Spirit
Board Development Program
907, 10405 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4R7
Phone: (780) 427-2001
FAX: (780) 427-4155

c Please indicate if you would like additional information about the Board Development Program and how it can
enhance the effectiveness of your not-for-profit board, and create a better understanding of board member roles
and responsibilities. Contact us about other workshop titles, workshops and our Board Development Newsletter.

Personal information collected on this form is protected under the

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The information
is collected under the authority of the Government Organization Act for
the purposes of administering the Board Development Program. If you
have any comments or questions, please contact the Board Development
Program at (780) 427-2001.