What’s the best way to find new board members?
While there is rarely one best way to do anything, when it comes to finding new board members a great way to start is to know what you’re looking for. Create a concrete list of traits or attributes you need to have represented on your board. You need to be strategic. You’ll hear this referred to as a board matrix. List desired traits, skills, and characteristics down the left column. In the top row, give each of your current board members a column, then check off which attributes each brings to the table. Basically, you’re doing an inventory of what you currently have “in stock” and identifying what you need to go find.
Knowing what you need makes it so much easier to know where to look! Need a lawyer? Talk to lawyers. Talk to people who know lawyers. Contact the local bar association. Need someone with lots of community contacts? Get acquainted with a member of a local service club. That person may not be interested but may well know someone who is. Share your specific need with your friends. They’ll have ideas.
Be aware that you don’t need a separate person for each trait. Often, you can find someone who will fulfill more than one need. For example, one board I served on wanted to have a lawyer on the board. Also, the board was mostly male “baby boomers” and wanted a better balance of perspectives. Through sharing their vacancy with people in the community, they found a female, Gen X attorney!
Here are some helpful resources: