Originally published March 2014
Starting off your board development meetings with a statement that resembles, “I know someone that may say yes,” is a clear signal that all you are doing is filling the seats with beating hearts. Developing an engaged board member starts (and sometimes ends) with the recruitment process.
Board members want to be part of an exclusive team and are honored and impressed that a board makes every effort to be sure of a good fit, rather than simply seeking a beating heart that says yes. The recruitment process sets the expectations – any minimization of the legal duties, fundraising responsibilities, or time commitment will eventually lead to a new board member asking if they have been tricked into making a commitment.
If the recruitment process is done poorly and without deliberateness, you will have a board member that shows up to three meetings and then disappears, rarely speaks, or, worse yet – micromanages (note that micromanagers are not necessarily “bad” board members, but rather board members who are seeking their appropriate role – guessing what, exactly, they should be doing.) Set the bar high and lay out clear expectations of attendance, participation, donating, fundraising and leadership.
-Regina Funkhouser, Executive Director
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