Successful Strategies for Recruiting Nonprofit Board Members


The heart of any successful nonprofit organization lies in its board of directors. These dedicated individuals contribute valuable expertise, guidance, and advocacy, playing a critical role in the organization’s governance, fundraising, and strategic direction. But finding the right not-for-profit board members can be a daunting task.

This comprehensive guide equips you with effective strategies for recruiting nonprofit board members. You’ll learn how to find and cultivate exceptional individuals who will propel your organization’s mission forward.

Recruiting a Board of Directors for a Nonprofit

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Story Highlights

  • The first step to finding NGO board of directors members is to define the ideal board profile for your organization.
  • Create a nonprofit board packet that covers your organization’s mission, governance, finances, and expectations, empowering potential members to make informed choices.
  • Be clear with the board of directors nonprofit candidates about the commitment involved, outlining time and other expectations.
  • Offer new board members a comprehensive onboarding process, provide regular communication, and offer recognition of your appreciation for their commitment.

Understanding the Ideal Board Candidate Profile

Before diving into recruitment strategies, take a step back and define the ideal board of directors nonprofit profile for your organization. Here are some key considerations:

  • Skills & Expertise: Identify the specific skills and expertise your board needs. This could include financial acumen, legal knowledge, marketing expertise, or fundraising experience. Consider the current skillset of your non-profit board members and any skill gaps that need to be filled.
  • Passion & Commitment: Look for individuals who are passionate about your organization’s mission and excited about joining a nonprofit board. They should be willing to dedicate their time, talent, and resources to your cause.
  • Diversity & Inclusion: Strive for a diverse board that reflects the communities you serve. Diversity of thought, experience, and background fosters a more well-rounded board and strengthens decision-making.
  • Network & Connections: Consider the potential NGO board of directors members’ network and connections. Can they help build relationships with potential donors, partners, or collaborators?

Pro Tip: Develop a non-profit board members profile document that outlines the skills, experience, and qualities you seek in a candidate. This will guide your recruitment efforts and ensure you attract individuals who align with your organization’s needs.

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Do you have any questions on how to find board members nonprofits benefit from? Please reach out and let us know.

Exploring Effective Recruitment Strategies

Now that you have a clear picture of your ideal not-for-profit board members, it’s time to explore recruitment strategies. Here are some effective approaches to consider to help in recruiting nonprofit board members:

  • Leverage Your Existing Network: Start by reaching out to your current board of directors nonprofit members, staff, volunteers, and donors. They might know of qualified individuals who would be a great fit for your board.
  • Utilize Online Resources: Several online platforms specialize in connecting non-profits with potential board members. These platforms allow you to search for candidates with specific skills and experience relevant to your organization’s needs. Some popular options include BoardSource and BoardStrong.
  • Post on Job Boards: Consider listing your NGO board of directors opening on nonprofit-specific job boards or general professional networking sites like LinkedIn. This can broaden your reach and attract a wider pool of potential candidates.
  • Attend Industry Events: Networking events, conferences, and workshops related to your cause are excellent opportunities to meet individuals who share your passion and might be interested in joining a nonprofit board.
  • Develop a Referral Program: Encourage existing board members and other stakeholders to recommend qualified candidates from their networks. Offer incentives, such as recognition or public shout-outs, for successful referrals.
  • Target Professionals in Transition: Seasoned professionals nearing retirement or considering a career change might be looking for meaningful volunteer opportunities. Their skills and experience could be valuable assets to your board.

Pro Tip: Tailor your recruitment message to each platform and audience. Highlight the impact your organization makes and the unique benefits of serving on your board.

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Cultivating Relationships & Making the Ask

Finding potential candidates is just the first step. The next crucial phase involves cultivating relationships and ultimately making the ask. Here’s how to navigate this stage:

  • Informational Interviews: Schedule informational interviews with promising not-for-profit board members candidates to learn more about their skills, experience, and motivations. This also allows them to learn more about your organization and its culture.
  • Board Packet & Onboarding Process: Develop a comprehensive board of directors nonprofit packet that outlines your organization’s mission, governance structure, financial statements, and expectations for board members. This provides potential members with all the information they need to make an informed decision.
  • The Final Ask: Once you’ve identified a strong candidate who aligns with your needs, it’s time to make the official request. Be clear about the commitment involved, outlining time expectations, financial responsibilities (if any), and the nomination process.

Pro Tip: Demonstrate appreciation for their time and interest in your organization, regardless of their final decision.

Please let us know if you have any feedback or questions about recruiting non-profit board members to fill skill and knowledge gaps at your organization.

Beyond Recruitment: Retaining Your Board Members

Finding exceptional non-profit board members is crucial but retaining them is equally important. Here’s how to foster a strong and engaged board:

  • Clearly Define Roles & Responsibilities: Ensure each board member has a clear understanding of their individual and collective roles and responsibilities.
  • Provide Effective Onboarding: Offer new board members a comprehensive onboarding process that introduces them to the organization’s work, governance structure, and key stakeholders.
  • Ongoing Communication & Engagement: Maintain regular communication with nonprofit and NGO board of directors members between meetings. Share updates on program progress, financial performance, and upcoming opportunities.
  • Provide Opportunities for Growth & Development: Offer board members professional development opportunities, such as workshops, conferences, or online courses relevant to their role.
  • Show Appreciation & Recognition: Publicly acknowledge board member contributions and celebrate their achievements. This fosters a sense of value and motivates continued engagement. This can also help your efforts when recruiting nonprofit board members.
  • Regular Performance Evaluations: Conduct regular board performance evaluations to assess the board’s effectiveness and identify areas for improvement. This demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement and allows for open communication about board dynamics.

By implementing these strategies, you can create a positive and rewarding not-for-profit board members experience, leading to long-term board member retention and a more stable and successful organization.

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Additional Tips for Success in Recruiting Nonprofit Board Members

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind as you embark on your recruitment journey for non-profit board members:

  • Be Clear About Time Commitment: Be upfront about the time commitment expected from board of directors nonprofit members. Avoid creating unrealistic expectations or overburdening board members.
  • Diversity & Inclusion Practices: Integrate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) practices throughout your recruitment process. Broaden your search channels, actively seek out candidates from diverse backgrounds, and create an inclusive board environment.
  • Consider Term Limits: Implementing term limits for board members can prevent stagnation and encourage the inclusion of new perspectives on the board.
  • Embrace Technology: Utilize online collaboration tools and board management software to streamline communication, share documents securely, and improve overall board efficiency.

Finding the right non-profit board members is a strategic investment in your organization’s future. By implementing the strategies outlined in this guide, you can attract passionate and qualified individuals who will contribute their expertise, networks, and leadership to propel your organization’s mission forward and create a lasting impact on the world.

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FAQ: Recruiting Not-for-profit Board Members

What’s the first step to find board members nonprofit organizations need?

The first step to finding those interested in joining a nonprofit board is to identify your key candidate profile. Look for any skills gaps in your board that would be beneficial to fill.

Where do you go about recruiting nonprofit board members?

To find qualified individuals interested in joining a nonprofit board you can try leveraging your existing network and asking if your current board, staff, donors, or volunteers may know of a qualified candidate. You can also try online resources and job boards or by attending industry events.

What are some of the ways to keep not-for-profit board members engaged?

Once you find board members for your nonprofit, you can keep them engaged by providing comprehensive onboarding, regular communication updates, personal development opportunities, and giving them recognition.

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