Nava Strategy

Recruiting Effective Board Members – nonprofits and businesses

Recruiting effective board members is crucial for its success. Boards are often relied on heavily or seasonally; this is dependent on context and needs. Some boards are strategic to ensure the road taken is getting to the strategic goals, including growth or risk management. Discussed here are a few key similarities and differences between a nonprofit board and a business board, as well as the process required to recruit effective board members.

Nonprofit Organization

Strategic Planning – The nonprofit board plays a crucial role in setting the organization’s mission, vision, and strategic direction. They develop long-term goals and objectives aligned with the organization’s mission and oversee their implementation.

Governance and Oversight – The board ensures compliance with legal and ethical standards, including adherence to nonprofit laws, regulations, and best practices. They provide oversight of financial management, risk management, and organizational policies.

Fundraising and Resource Development – Board members are often involved in fundraising efforts, including donor cultivation, grant writing, and fundraising events. They help secure financial resources to support the organization’s programs and operations.

Community Engagement and Advocacy – The board represents the organization to the community, stakeholders, and policymakers. They advocate for the organization’s mission and interests, build relationships with key stakeholders, and raise awareness about relevant issues.

Leadership and Support for the Executive Director – The board hires, evaluates, and supports the executive director or CEO, providing guidance, mentorship, and oversight. They collaborate with the executive director to ensure effective leadership and management of the organization.


Strategic Direction and Oversight – Similar to nonprofits, the board of a business is responsible for setting the company’s strategic direction, goals, and objectives. They monitor industry trends, assess risks, and make decisions to drive the company’s growth and profitability.

Financial and Operational Oversight – The board oversees financial management, including budgeting, financial reporting, and risk management. They ensure that the company operates efficiently, complies with regulatory requirements, and mitigates financial risks.

Executive Leadership and Compensation – The board hires, evaluates, and sets compensation for the CEO or executive leadership team. They provide guidance and support to senior management, aligning executive decisions with the company’s strategic objectives and shareholder interests.

Shareholder Relations – In publicly traded companies, the board represents the interests of shareholders and ensures accountability to shareholders. They communicate with shareholders, address concerns, and make decisions that maximize shareholder value.

Legal and Ethical Compliance – The board ensures that the company operates in compliance with relevant laws, regulations, and ethical standards. They establish corporate governance policies, codes of conduct, and oversight mechanisms to promote integrity and transparency.

While the roles of boards in nonprofit organizations and businesses have similarities, such as setting strategic direction and providing oversight, they also have distinct focuses and priorities based on the unique missions, stakeholders, and operating environments of nonprofits and businesses.

How do you define your needs and recruit strong members?

A Process for Recruiting Board Members

  1. Define Board Needs
    • Identify the skills, expertise, and diversity needed on the board.
    • Consider the organization’s current and future challenges.
  2. Create a Board Profile
    • Develop a detailed profile outlining the ideal board member’s qualifications and attributes.
  3. Network and Outreach
    • Leverage your personal and professional networks.
    • Attend industry events, conferences, and workshops.
    • Use social media platforms to spread the word.
  4. Engage Current Board Members
    • Encourage existing board members to refer potential candidates.
    • Leverage their networks for recommendations.
  5. Utilize Online Platforms
    • Use dedicated platforms like BoardSource, LinkedIn, Idealist, or Bridgespan to post board positions.
  6. Tap into Volunteer or Social Impact Networks
    • Connect with local volunteer organizations.
    • Attend volunteer fairs or organize your own.
  7. Collaborate with Professional Associations
    • Engage with professional organizations related to your nonprofit’s mission.
  8. Screen and Interview Candidates
    • Develop a screening process to evaluate candidates.
    • Conduct interviews to assess skills, commitment, and alignment with the organization’s values.
  9. Provide Informational Sessions
    • Host informational sessions for potential candidates to learn about your organization.
  10. Reference Checks
    • Conduct thorough reference checks to verify the candidate’s background and reputation.
  11. Board Orientation
    • Develop a comprehensive orientation program for new board members.
  12. Evaluate Regularly
    • Regularly evaluate the performance and contributions of board members.

Some tools can include, recruitment platforms, social media, volunteer platforms, emailing marketing, and professional networks, affect job descriptions, application forms, and process for qualification and on-boarding. Ask us what tools might help you achieve any one of these goals.

Tailoring the approaches and tools based on the specific needs and characteristics of your organization is an important part of success. Effective board recruitment involves a combination of networking, strategic outreach, and thorough evaluation to ensure alignment with the organization’s mission and goals.

If you wish to Inspire, Innovate, Impact, contact us today!

Our Commitment

Nava Strategy is your trusted partner in helping to bridge the gap between vision and impact. We provide tailored consulting to non-profits, social enterprises and creatives, guiding them towards sustainable growth and meaningful outcomes.

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