Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Results Are In!

The results are in from our second blog contest - "How to Build the Best Board." In the next few weeks, we will post the five winning entries to our blog as well as some of the other great entries we received but did not make the top five. Thanks again to everyone you submitted an entry. You all had terrific ideas!

Winning Entry #1
Building a strong board begins with a good recruiting and orientation process. Supplying prospective candidates with good information about your organization and their expected role on the board is essential.

One good process is to have an informational packet sent to candidates that includes your mission, vision, core values, an organizational brochure and other information, an application form, and your written explanation of mutual expectations of a board member and of the organization. This accompanies an invitation to a board informational breakfast or lunch, lasting no more than 1.5 hours. The letters are followed up by phone calls by a board member, ideally known to the candidate, reinforcing the invitation and answering any questions. The informational event includes the executive director and several board leaders, who give an overview of the organizational programs, history and structure, and ends with an invitation to indicate their willingness (or not) to become involved with the nonprofit.

Some people may be interested in other types of volunteering, and that is also welcomed! Some may wish to have their name kept for a future year.

All of this recruitment needs to be preceded with a good assessment of current strengths and gaps on the board, based on what (strategic) plans are for the organization over at least the next two years. Names of candidates are generated from this assessment. Orientation should be held within two months of people joining the board, and if at all possible, each new member should be paired with a seasoned board member “buddy” for the first few months.

Submitted by: Cathy Hartle, Senior Program Manager for Organizational Effectiveness
Initiative Foundation - Little Falls, MN

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