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Recruitment is a year-round activity that requires ALL Board members= participation. Every Board member should keep their ears & eyes open for potential candidates. The final action of an effective Board is to make sure that when Annual Meeting time rolls around, there are some great new Board members ready to take over where parting Board members left off!

What are the Qualities of an Effective Board?

Before recruiting individuals for the Board, think about what the Board as a group is charged with, and what will make the Board as a group most able to fulfill its leadership responsibilities in ways that will benefit the entire co-op. The Board must be able to work together as a group to fulfill its job description responsibilities, while representing the diverse interests of the co-op. First figure out what qualities and skills you want this group to have. Then take a look at what qualities and skills are lacking overall in the group. Target your recruitment based on filling these gaps.

Who is a good candidate for the Board?

Some members will jump out to you as good candidates for the board. Others will have more subtle qualities that identify them as a potentially excellent contributors to the Board. Remember that the Board as a group has a leadership role--the individual Board members must provide the pieces that fit together to form an effective group, but no individual Board member is required to have every skill or leadership quality necessary to the group as a whole. Depending upon the needs of the group, a Agood@ candidate will be one person for one board, and a very different person for another board! Remember that the goal is to build an effective group: each individual is only a piece of this! In any case, some sources of good Board candidates may be:

bulletPeople who have participated actively at co-op (or other group) meetings or events.
bulletPeople who have shown initiative, diplomacy, knowledge, and judgment in addressing issues facing your co-op or another group.
bulletPeople who are demanding change, and will take on responsibility to effect change.
bulletPeople who help a meeting simply by being there---through their Apeople@ skills, organizational skills, sense of humor, or positive spirit.
bulletPeople who inspire trust or are seen as Team Builders
bulletGood listeners

Who is a Good Candidate for the Board? Some Questions to Consider

bulletWhat gaps would this person fill in the current Board?
bulletWhy would this person make a good Board member? What will s/he contribute?
bulletWould this person be interested in serving on the Board? Why or why not?
bulletWould this person have time for the commitment required? This is important!
bulletIs this person willing to share power and work constructively with the group?
bulletIs there any reason this person should not be on the Board?

How Will We Recruit Members for the Board?

bulletPrior to the Annual Meeting (preferably several months before the meeting), the Board should decide on a slate of candidates--based on the gaps/needs of the group-- they would like to recruit to run for the Board. Current Board members should volunteer to meet one on one with the candidates to discuss the benefits and responsibilities of serving on the Board, and to recruit the Member to run for the Board. Some tips:
bulletStress vision, achievements, momentum, development. (Not tasks, problems, recurring crises.) Be enthusiastic. Stress the positive.
bulletGive the Member a realistic overview of the expectations in terms of time required, responsibilities, etc.
bulletLet the Member know what strengths you think they would bring to the group, and why you=re enthusiastic about having her/him on the board specifically.
bulletOffer to answer any questions they have. Ask them how you can help.
bulletOne last tip: Sometimes the best way to recruit new members to the Board is to commit to not running yourself! If you've been on the Board for what seems like forever, perhaps it's time to step down and create space for someone else to take leadership. The change may be refreshing--to you and the co-op. And you can always run in the future!

Who Will Recruit These Fine Candidates to the Board?

Board recruitment is every Board member=s responsibility. All Board members should see it as their responsibility to identify and meet with potential candidates. However, you may want to establish a subcommittee of the current Board (perhaps 3 Board members) who will act as the nominating committee. The nominating committee takes organizing responsibility and leadership for the following:

bulletPlans strategy for Board recruitment
bulletEstablishes qualifications that should be represented in the Board as a group
bulletIdentifies gaps in composition of the current Board
bulletIdentifies potential candidates
bulletPresents recommendations to the full Board
bulletCoordinates recruitment interviews
bulletOrients new Board members to the Board (this is a whole other hand-out!)
bulletConducts exit interviews with outgoing Board members: this helps provide positive closure, solicits constructive criticism and positive feedback, and gives the outgoing Board member an opportunity to get out their gripes, so that they don't go public with their gripes, damaging the credibility of the Board.
 

 

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Revised: October 02, 2003.

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