[Question Marc] How do I recruit new board members?

Image of a person with a question mark on a chalkboardFrom time to time, I have a feature I call Question Marc?. [Pun fully intended]

A coaching client who is a board member for an arts organization recently sent me this question:

We are trying to quickly build up our board since it is small. I am planning on asking 3 people. I think they would be great board members for various reasons. I want to approach it by emphasizing how fulfilling this opportunity will be for them, based on their backgrounds and interests. Any suggestions?

My Answer

I love board members who are asking how to invite more people they know on to the board!

Here are my suggestions:

  • Be sure to be able to tell them why you think they'll be a good fit

    What talent or ability do you see in them? Knowing that they are bringing something of value will help them see how they'd fit with the board.

  • Be honest about the work

    Saying "you won't have to do anything and it'll be fun" doesn't respect the person or the board. A person's time is valuable so they should be doing something of value with their board service. And nonprofits need a board that isn't filled with dead weight. Better to be upfront with them about the work (time, responsibilities, fundraising goals) than to surprise them after they sign up.

  • Share your story

    Their response to the invitation will probably hang more on your relationship and their schedule than on their connection with the nonprofit. If they say yes, it's the board's job to make sure they feel growing allegiance to the nonprofit. But for now, you want to get them to yes. So share with them why you're invovled:

    • Why did you join the board?
    • What do you like even more now that you're on the board?
    • What motivates you to stay on the board?

    You may not remember all the statistics of the nonprofits financials and growth or the structure of the bylaws, but you will always remember your story. Being authentic with them will be the best way to help them choose to join the board!

What would you add?

That's my response. What would you add? Tell us in the comments!

About Marc Pitman

Marc A. Pitman is the author of "Ask Without Fear!" and founder of FundraisingCoach.com and the weekly email service “Fundraising Kick.” A coach to leaders around the world, Marc's expertise and enthusiasm engages audiences and has caught the attention of media organizations as diverse as Al Jazeera and Fox News. Marc’s experience also includes pastoring a Vineyard church, managing a gubernatorial campaign, and teaching internet marketing and fundraising at colleges and universities. He is the husband to his best friend and the father of three amazing kids. And if you drive by him on the road, he’ll be singing 80’s tunes loud enough to embarrass his family!

Follow him on Google+, on Twitter @marcapitman, and like "Ask Without Fear!" on Facebook.

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