Board Recruitment: We’re not ready!

on in Fundraising

Six people, soon to become five by attrition, sit around a board table. “There’s so few of us to do the work” one of the members sighs.

The obvious answer? Recruit a couple more people who are inspired by the organization’s work with autistic children and would be honored to be among those responsible for the agency’s well-being.

Yet the board hesitates.

We have to clarify our committee structure...

Our financials look too dicey…

We need to get through a tricky personnel matter…

The people we most need won’t want to join this club.

The rationalizations for inaction go on and on. 

Sure, it’s helpful to fix board dysfunction before asking a fresh crop of board members to join the team. If not, it’s likely that the new board members will show up ready for action and quickly get discouraged, eventually slinking off to greener pastures.

But every “t” doesn’t have to be crossed nor every “I” dotted to widen the circle and ask people to be part of the change process the board is embarking on. Board recruitment and the reformation of board practices can happen simultaneously.

The key is to be honest about the change you’re seeking, and that recruiting new members is part of the self-improvement plan. “Help us move forward together” is a pretty attractive pitch for the right person.

And frankly, sometimes it takes the presence of new members for old board patterns to die off – board members act one way in front of the family, but when a new member or two joins the team, they’re likely to behave a little bit better in front of “strangers.”

So take advantage of the power of addition to jumpstart board improvement. Being thoughtful of course, don’t wait for “perfect” conditions to add a new voice or two to the mix!

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