Step 2 -Plan for the success and sustainability of your organization.
After you have assessed your organization’s and your board’s status and needs, which was discussed in the last blog post titled ‘Recruit and Retain a Strong Nonprofit Board of Directors in 2014 – Step 1’, it is important to plan for your organization’s success and sustainability. It is important to first determine what type of planning has your organization engaged in at this point in time? Are you in need of some sort of formal planning? Has your organization participated in any level of strategic planning? The status and needs of your organization will help determine what level of formal planning you should complete.
- Do you need short term planning to get the process started?
- Are you ready for long term planning?
No matter what level of planning you decide to do at this time, it is important to know how your organization will get from your mission to your vision. Short term and long term planning will help your organization do that. When your organization knows where it would like to be and how it will get there (goals and objectives), you can better determine the particular individuals (or the traits, values, skills and strengths of the individuals) that you would like involved to help the organization reach its vision.
Once your board and organization have determined the steps that will lead toward fulfilling the organization’s vision, the board should think about who will be the best fit to complete the steps. Now it is time to think about the following:
- Does your organization and board have the people needed to get your organization to fulfill its vision?
- What backgrounds should your board, staff members and volunteers have? Public relations, marketing, IT, etc.
- What type of connections would benefit your organization? Particular corporations, other nonprofits, etc.
- How will you ensure that the people you potentially recruit are a ‘good fit’ for your organization? It is important to always match up your potential board member’s values and skills with the values of your organization as well as the goals of your board. What type of person do you want? How much time and financial contribution do you want from that person?
When you determine who you want to recruit, you will need to determine how to recruit via advertising. How will you advertise for additional board members? Remember that your organization’s status will determine the type of advertising that may be appropriate. For example:
- If you are a veteran board, you may only need to fill one seat on your board. You may know exactly who you would like or you may have a few individuals that you would like to fill the empty seat. Will you draft a recruitment letter to send directly to the individuals that you would like to have on the board?
- If you are transitioning from your founding board to your working board, will you post the openings on your website? Will you only ask your existing board members to recruit someone new? It is important to consider what type of finances you may need for advertising.
To prepare for the individuals that you will recruit, do you have the necessary documentation to ensure that person’s success?
- Has your board drafted Board Member Job Descriptions? This is critical to ensure that the existing board knows what they expect from new board members as well as ensuring that potential board members know the expectations of them. Job descriptions will provide the guide lines to prevent, or at least help to deal with, issues that may come up down the line.
- Does your board have each board member sign and agree to a Board Commitment Letter? Doing this will ensure that the new board member(s) commit to a certain period of time to serve on the board, will abide by all board by laws, will raise money for your organization, will make their own donation if determined by the board, will represent the organization (in good standing), will attend a certain percentage of meetings (determined by the board), will participate in a certain percentage of events (including fundraisers) and will agree to any other commitments that your board needs.
As stated by author Alan Lakein, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. It is worth taking these steps to ensure the support and success of your team and your organization.
Photo credit to: Microsoft Office Clip Art