Best Practice (BP):

Best practices are specific, discrete ministry activities that measurably increase program scale, effectiveness, and/or efficiency, and can be replicated by other National Ministries. Best practices should be supported by evidence (data).

Recruiting and Training a Board of Directors

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Benefits

Recruiting a board of directors is foundational to the success of your organization. The right board of directors becomes an enabler and accelerator of the ministry – setting the mission and vision and the goals for how to get there; asking the hard questions; giving the organization a focus; and acting as an insulator by handling the governance matters of an organization while setting the staff free to pursue the accomplishment of the vision. Finding the right people can be a challenge, but it will be worth the time invested.

Training a board of directors is giving them the tools they need. Non-profit organizations need to generate financial and people resources, and board members should be trained on how to do both. Board members also need to provide oversight to the organization. Board members must be clear on the difference between oversight and management, and learn the skills necessary to provide oversight in different areas such as finance and governance.

Non-profit organizations must prove they are worth supporting. The board of directors sets the tone for the organization – not only the goals but also approving the policies and procedures for how the organization achieves its mission. Board members become the organization’s biggest supporters and its most important marketers.

The PFI board mantra – ‘Heads together, noses in, fingers out’ – sums up the goals of a healthy board of directors.

A great starting point is this PFI organizational growth presentation on the purpose of a Board of Directors.

Planning Considerations

Recruiting a board of directors:

• Document the role of the board of directors. For example:
1. Ensure effective organizational planning.
2. Provide sufficient resources.
3. Make sure the organization fulfills legal obligations.
4. Provide proper financial oversight.
5. Hire and manage the executive director.
6. Improve the organization’s public standing.
7. Recruit and orient new board members.

• Develop a board and committee structure (identify committees needed).

• Develop role descriptions for specific roles (Treasurer, Secretary, etc.).

• Develop a board member role description that identifies duties and expectations, such as:
o Attending a minimum number of board meetings per year.
o Contributing meaningfully to board meetings while exercising good judgement and care.
o Declaring any conflicts of interest and recusing themselves from discussion or votes which may present a conflict.
o Keeping all information and organizational matters confidential.
o Fulfilling duties as stated in the organization’s bylaws.

• Determine the strengths of the current board and identify any gaps.

• Develop an application process.

• Establish a board member recruitment profile – determine what you are looking for in a board member.
o Qualifications.
o Skills and Competencies.
o Diversity.
o Independence.
o Commitment.
o Person-Group Fit.
o Integrity.

• Identify where you can find candidates to join the board. (Members of Churches, non-profit organization or active volunteers and others.

• Identify candidates.

• Provide application materials to candidates.

• Interview candidates.

• Interview references.

• Review and revise the board member recruitment profile on a regular basis.

Training a board of directors:

• Develop an onboarding process.
• Provide role clarity.
• Provide one-on-one time with existing board members.
• Provide fund-raising training.
• Provide opportunities for mentorship.
• Engage in consistent follow-up.

Required Resources

1. Human Resources.
a. Someone will need to lead the development of role descriptions.
b. Someone will need to lead the recruitment process.
c. Someone will need to disseminate application materials.
d. Someone will need to collect application materials.
e. Someone will need to coordinate interviews.
f. Someone will need to lead the new board member training process.

2. Collateral.
a. Board member application.
b. Board roles and committee roles.

3. Time.
a. Regular times for the board to meet.
b. Time for board structure conversations.
c. Time to discern what the current strengths of the board are and what is missing.
d. Time to conduct recruitment of new board member(s).
e. Time to onboard and train new board member(s).

4. Space.
You will need space to hold meetings and interviews.

5. Cost.
The cost varies. Considerations include meal/snack expenses, travel expenses, types of communication (email, phone, text), board structure design and documentation.

NM with Demonstrated Experience in this BP

Colombia
Albania
Brazil
Guatemala