Building a board for an organization that gets things done is the hope of any President or Executive Director. We find people that are passionate about the work of the organization, willing to give of themselves and their time, get them on our board, then are surprised when the group seems to start muddling along and the accomplishments get fewer and farther apart. This happens for a very simple reason: board members came in with an expectation of what they would contribute, then were asked for something completely different. I’ve even heard some board members grumble that it felt like a “bait and switch” campaign – they were lured into the board on one pretense, only to find the reality of the position very different. To avoid this, those who are recruiting board members need to think much like a match maker! First, clearly identify what it really is that you want or need from a board member. Then find the person who not only is passionate about all your organization stands for (it’s mission and goals) but ALSO has a passion for doing what it is you really need done. Need to do some rethinking on your financial policies? Find someone who really cares that the organization be financially sound. Need to put on a better conference? Find someone who really believes your conference can be the best around. When there’s a good match, great work gets done! Think about it from their point of view. It wouldn’t be fair to bring in someone passionate about finances and ask them to organize the hostesses for conference. Do you really believe they will put their heart into this? Probably not. People want to feel valued for what they know, respected for their ideas and passion, and they don’t want to waste their time. When you match the passion and expertise with the jobs at hand, that’s when magic happens. You get board members that take your organization to a new place, that leave each board meeting feeling they contributed, that they made a difference. This is what they want, all you need to do is give them the opportunity to do it!
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