When you're recruiting your Founding Board of directors, it's important to keep things simple and specific. When new board members join, you want to be clear about the requirements of the role and the length of their term with you.
Here's two main principles on how to onboard your new board members smoothly:
1. Let them off the hook: We recommend that you tell anyone you’re recruiting for your Founding Board that the initial term is 90 days.
When we create a 501(c)3 for a customer, we draft a “Board Director Recruitment & Consent Form”, which outlines the simple things you are asking your Directors to do, the minimal time commitments, and defines a short period for the initial appointment.
This way, no one feels overly obligated.
Meanwhile, we also include a provision to allow for the term to automatically extend to one year.
This way, if they are a “rock star”, it’s easy for them to remain in the position - or if they are a well-meaning “no-show” to meetings and cannot manage the minimal requirements, you can let them go after the initial appointment period, thanking them for allowing you the time to recruit someone to take their place on your board.
2. Make it Zero Brain Damage – Early on there shouldn’t be much work for them to do. Remember, Officer and Director are volunteer roles!
It's better to have full commitment from a director to do two or three top priority items you need done, instead of having a large list of tasks - or the Founder or Executive Director may run the risk of ending up doing all of the work because of overwhelming the volunteer help!
Your Board Director Recruitment Consent Form form also doubles as a 1-page, bulleted list of responsibilities, and helps your prospective Board member say “yes” by listing the small number of simple things you are requesting they do, the frequency format for your Board meetings, and the estimated time commitment.
To help you with all of this, we’ve provided a complimentary Board Director Recruitment Consent Form to guide you with your on-boarding process.
Over time, in addition to finding the right people for your nonprofit board, you’ll also want to consider skillsets they may possess, so you can match those up to the needs of your organization.
Start by making a list of the tasks that need to be done and at this early phase, simply allow board members to volunteer for them.
Jobs and board members should be well-matched so that everyone has enough to do, but no one is overwhelmed. Answering the important questions about launching your 501(c)3 nonprofit involves details like this, versus vague generalities.
A longer-term approach on board recruitment depends on your organization’s needs, but you should be thinking with a mix of skills including marketing, financial, tech, legal and social services.
That said, don’t forget about the value people outside of “professional services” (such as attorneys, accountants and tech) can offer.
Parents or volunteers who love your work and who tend to get things done in their own lives are excellent people to have on your board.
They’re full of passion and commitment, and often bring specific ninja-level skills (such as managing events, or running Excel spreadsheets) - as well as the all-important “people skills”.
In conclusion, let's keep your Founding Board onboarding process simple. Please download your Board Director Recruitment Consent Form here.
Also, if you're ready to start your nonprofit and you'd like everything done for you so you don't have to worry about any paperwork and details, then check out our done-for-you 501(c)3 nonprofit service.
Or, if you you're ready to get started, but you have a few questions, the please book a free strategy session here.
-Jacquelyn Long, How to use the Board Director Recruitment Consent Form, InstantNonprofit