Archive for April, 2010

>Recruiting NFP Directors Part 3 – Assembling Your Recruiting Materials

>With your building blocks in place, you will be ready to assemble the final part of your recruitment materials. There are 3 vital documents which will allow you to approach potential directors with confidence:

• A statement of what the board will expect of new directors. This should have been previously agreed by the board. It should cover matters like the annual board schedule, including commitments outside board meetings such as the annual strategy retreat, if you hold one, and fundraising events; a willingness to align with your organisational values; and preparedness to sign up for the way the board works together, as set out in the board protocol. A reasonable assessment of the amount of time which a new director would need to spend to meet the necessary duties and commitments is also a great help in giving a realistic picture of the job, and in ensuring that the new director will know what they are up for.

• A letter setting out the major terms of the appointment. The letter should be clear on the term for which the new director is being appointed, and a summary of any of the “expectations” which are of a sufficiently formal nature to warrant inclusion.

• The sales pitch which you will present to potential appointees. You need to give candidates a great and compelling story if you want to get the best ones. The sales pitch should cover:

Why we want you – including the skills, experience and personal qualities identified in stage one, the skills analysis; how we found you; why we think you would be a great fit for our board and our organisation

What our organisation does – a summary which can be supported by other accessible written material if necessary

What we can offer you – such as comprehensive board papers, sound management, good risk management, board training and development, or any other strong features you might like to emphasise

“What’s in it for me?” – what a director in your organisation can expect to get out of being involved, beyond just a warm inner glow. This might include exposure to new networks of contacts, the opportunity to receive training or learn new skills, value for your CV or any other tangible positives you can identify.

With these materials assembled, you can now establish the actual recruitment process.

The Board Coach

>Recruiting NFP Directors Part 2 – Recruitment Building Blocks


Given the difficulties in finding any not-for-profit directors at all, it can be pretty competitive to attract the best ones to your organisation. You should make your recruitment process as professional, and your offer to potential appointees as attractive, as possible. This means having the right building blocks in place.

The most important recruitment building blocks are these:

  • A clear articulation of your organisation’s values and vision. What is its reason for existence, where does it want to make its major impacts, and what will it hold sacred and immutable while doing so? Being able to give a coherent and passionate explanation of these factors will put you well ahead of other organisations in the recruiting race.
  • An agreed and explicit document which sets out the role of the board. What areas will it choose to be active in, besides those few functions which the law says it must cover? What roles will it aspire to play, such as being a role model in the sector, or setting the culture and tone for the organisation? What will be the split of responsibilities between the board and management. A clear statement of the role of the board is probably the factor most widely lacking in NFP governance.
  • A board protocol on how the board will work together. This should be a clear and agreed statement of the board’s group dynamic, which can range from turning up on time to and being properly prepared for meetings, to being prepared to engage in robust but respectful debate on crucial issues. It should be something from which a potential director can evaluate just what kind of a culture they would be operating in.
  • A version of your strategic plan which can be shared, without giving away too much confidential information. It will be very helpful for a potential director to get an idea of what the major strategic challenges will be.
  • A current directors’ and officers’ liability insurance policy, with an available summary of important terms and a certificate of currency. Without this, you won’t even be in the race to recruit new directors.

Armed with these building blocks you will be able to embark on the next stage of your recruitment process.

The Board Coach

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