NYCON Presentation Recruitment and Retention Strategies for Boards April 7th Binghamton
Recruitment & Retention Strategies for Board of Directors April 7, 2011 | Binghamton, NY Presented by: Doug Sauer, Chief Executive Officer firstname.lastname@example.org | 800.515.5012 Community Focus w Statewide Impact w National Network
Key Learning Objectives• Recognize what motivates board members to excel in their role & obligations• Become aware of methods & tools for board strategic assessment, recruitment, orientation, retention & development processes• Understand the importance, role & responsibilities of a Board Development Committee• Explore problem-solving strategies for improving your board’s performance
Ask Yourself…How did you first get involved on the board? And, what motivates you to stay involved?
Board Members…Give: May Get:• Time • Personal Satisfaction• Expertise • Commitment to Mission,• Community/Constituent Cause, &/or Community Perspective • Professional Growth or• Credibility Networking Opp’s.• Influence • Benefit to Employer or Self• Resources • Recognition – Directly or Access to – “Give, Get or Get Off”?• Commitment to Excellence – Care, Obedience & Loyalty
What is Board Development?• The process of creating, maintaining & improving the functioning, effectiveness & productivity of board leadership & governance• It Goes Well Beyond Recruiting & Nominating!
Significant Trend inGovernance Smaller boards aimed at higher overall and individual director & officer performance
What Does A Board Development Committee Do?• Develops strategic board development goals, short & long term• Assesses overall board functioning & composition in relationship to those goals• Regularly reviews board & officer job descriptions, qualifications & performance expectations/standards• Assesses individual board member & officer performance• Manages communications with existing board members & officers re: renewal of terms, retirement, etc.
Board Development Committee (continued)• Plans for multi-year leadership succession• Recruits & nominates board & officer positions• Designs & implements orientation along with ED/CEO• Encourages & coordinates ongoing development & training opportunities• Monitors & makes recommendations with respect to ethical conduct• Reviews bylaws & proposed amendments
Think About…• How is your board organized to do board development?• How well does it work?• And, what is the role of the ED/CEO?
Be Aware of…• What your Certificate of Incorporation, Charter and/or Bylaws may state with respect to composition• Contractual, licensing or accreditation requirements & standards related to structure or composition Are you compliant?
Who Are Your Board Assets & Weaknesses?Perform an assets & needs inventory:• Knowledge of & commitment to mission & org.• Talents, specialized expertise & skills• Board & leadership experience• Influence, contacts, etc.• Diversity & representation – Ethnic, racial, religious, age, etc. – Geographic, political, industry, etc.• Consumer participation• Other?
Examples of Measures for Overall Board Performance• Progress with strategic goals, objectives & work plans• How well do committees function?• % of Board Members who attend board/committee meetings? – Number of meetings you don’t have quorum• % of Board that contributes $ annually & level of significance?• Effective meeting management – Duration of meetings – Meeting productivity – actions & priorities – Board vs. staff participation• Board & Officer turnover
Examples of Measures for Individual Board Member Performance• Time & expertise contributed• Attendance (number & percentage)• Constructive participation/engagement• Influence & representation (activities or results)• Donations (give or get)• Attended training/development opportunities• For officers & committee chairs, performed duties as required• Conflict of interest issues
Tips for Assessing the Board, Officers & Members• Have clear goals & expectations for the organization & for individuals• Formally assess annually & consider doing so in writing• If the bylaws or policies are obstacles or not conducive to effective governance, propose changes• Promote & protect confidentiality & handle sensitive situations very carefully• Share results with the board, but avoid unnecessary personality-based discussions• Don’t allow mission & performance to be adversely affected by personalities, unhealthy relationships, etc.
From Assessment to Nominations & Recruitment• What are the biggest challenges you experience around the nominations & recruitment process?• What have been your most successful strategies in identifying new board members & why?
Plan Ahead: Design a Nominations & Recruitment Strategy1. Know required process & timeframe (bylaws)2. Consider multi-year goals & strategies3. Identify individuals, groups & organizations whose purpose, skills or contacts relate to mission, needs & goals4. Take the time to develop strategic relationships that will support recruitment now & in the future
Plan Ahead (continued)5. Develop the application (forms, interviews) & the selection process you will use • What do you want to know about prospective board members?6. Define & clarify Board/ED roles in contacting, orienting & “making the ask”
Finding Board Members: Consider Extending Your Network• Current board members’ networks or affiliations• Stakeholders: Members, donors, consumers, etc.• Consider their extended network• Other nonprofits, churches or community groups• Higher education & schools• Government employees (check ethic laws/restrictions)• General public: Do you open your process? – Advertise/announce opportunities on your website, professional association newsletters or websites, local newspapers, online listings or matching services, etc.
Additional Strategies• Check with local United Way, volunteer programs, Online programs (i.e. Board Net), etc.• Have non-board members serve on select committees (check bylaws)• Appoint newer board members to board development committee• Involve experts, those with influence, others in an advisory capacity• Hold an open house
Prepare Before You Meet with a Prospective Member...• Develop pertinent materials - Orientation starts now!• Designate an initial contact person• Use person who is most familiar – If ED/CEO, involve a board member as well• Develop your “pitch” - what tone will you set regarding the board’s expectations of its members?• Have them visit your organization initially or as a follow- up
Be Prepared for Questions• Who are the other board members?• What are your board meetings like?• Are you fiscally sound & fiscally responsible? Can I have a copy of the audit & IRS Form 990?• Is the organization in a crisis? If there are financial problems, what is the plan?• What are the board’s major goals, challenges & plans?• What is the time commitment, participation & expectation standards?
More Possible Questions…• How/what can I contribute as a board member?• What committees do you feel I should serve on?• What opportunities are there for board learning?• How effective are the programs?• How does the board work with executive leadership & staff?• What are the relations between the organization and other like nonprofits? Government? Business?• Do you have directors & officers liability insurance? Be prepared for more in depth questions specific to expertise
Sample Questions to Ask Prospects• What do you know about our organization & how does our mission interest you?• What motivates you to consider joining our team? (if prospect has indicated interest)• What are your previous board experiences & what is your understanding as to how a board should function?• Given our expectations, what, if any, concerns or limitations do you have?• How do you feel you can contribute to our board team?
Recruiting “What If’s?”If they say “NO”• Ask why & if time is an issue; ask if they would join a committee or be willing to consider the opportunity at another time• Thank them, respect their decision & keep them informedIf they say “MAYBE”• Find out what additional info might aid their decision• Offer opportunity to visit the agency, meet other board members or to experience a board meetingIf they say “YES”• Let them know the timing & next steps in the process• Make sure to follow up quickly
From Recruitment to Orientation: Tools• Welcoming, inclusive participatory environment• Orientation Sessions• One-to-one meeting with leadership• Formal training sessions• Meetings with key staff• Pre-board service• Board Mentor or “buddy” system• Annual Retreat• Ongoing support• Board manual
Retaining Good Board MembersAvoid the Revolving Door
Keys to Retaining Good Board Members• Respect & use each members’ skills, contacts & time as effectively as possible• Build structures & processes that are effective & efficient• Provide growth & leadership development opportunities• Strengthen working relationships• Foster ties to mission
Retention Strategies• Leadership stability - succession planning, grooming & mentoring officers and committee chairs• Modeling productive relationships - support effective communication• Strategic planning – Have an engaged process – Address board development issues & needs• Working committee structure - tied to organizational goals
Retention StrategiesExpress Appreciation Say Thank You
Key Best Practices Summary• Create a Board Development Committee• Clearly define officer & other leadership roles• Organize a board assessment/evaluation process & tools that are goal-based• Run meetings well
Key Best Practices Summary (continued)• Do follow-up “check-ins” with board members, especially those who are absent or appear dissatisfied• Conduct exit interviews with those leaving board• Consider non-traditional recruitment strategies – Be willing to go outside of your comfort circles• When recruiting, be positive but also be realistic & transparent about the organization’s status, needs & directions• Formalize orientation process with comprehensive materials & have key board & staff leader participate
Key Best Practices Summary (continued)• Promote ongoing board education & training opportunities, both within & outside the organization – Include governance goals & development in strategic plan• Carefully define role of staff in process• Celebrate board leadership, participation & achievements