April 21, 2015

Why Do People Join Nonprofit Boards?

Why do people join your board? They believe in the distinctive way you fulfill your mission. That’s the answer you want.

It’s rarely so simple because people are complex. People’s lives, especially those prospective board members, are hectic, busy, and packed with opportunities. People agree to serve on your board because they believe they will progress a bunch of goals.

Besides believing in your distinct approach to fulfilling your mission:

They join because they:
• Believe they can help you
• Have a personal connection to the cause
• Experience a call to serve

They say yes to using their
• Skills
• Connections

And, they agree to grow their:
• Skills
• Connections
• Résumé

They expect their board leadership experience to be:
• Social
• Fun
• Offers some perks, such as travel and behind-the-scenes tours

Ask Them

When you recruit board members, do you wonder why your board members said yes? Then, why don’t you ask your board members to discover their reasons?

When you ask, don’t ask just one question since you want to know the entire range of their thinking –so that you can help them meet their goals and so that you can use what you learn as a recruitment tool. No single question could give you a wide-lens view. So ask: questions such as, why else did you agree? Anything else you plan to accomplish?

If you listen, you’ll discover their expectations. You’ll learn more about what people think when they consider board membership and the value that board members receive. You’ll find patterns behind why people join.

Why is it important to inventory the reasons people join your board? Many of your board’s goals will be easy to fulfill. Often, you can help them achieve both your goals and their goals. Plus, your reward for fulfilling their wishes will be more effective and dedicated leadership. Over time, understanding why people agree to serve will make recruitment easier, reduce turnover, and make referrals more plentiful. Discover why your board members said yes. Fire up ways to help them. In turn, you’ll both accomplish your goals faster.

Enjoy Board Recruitment More

Read: When You Recruit Nonprofit Board Members, What Is the Most Important Characteristic to Seek?

Watch: How to Cure Common Nonprofit  Board Recruitment Headaches

Watch: Executive Directors, Do You Know This Secret to Nonprofit Board Success?

For more answers, check out this Nonprofit  CEO Library.

For solutions delivered to your inbox, sign up for Karen’s CEO Solutions.

If you’d like to learn even more about board recruitment or dynamic nonprofit boards, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d love to help you recruit and create a nonprofit board that launches your nonprofit onward and upward and help you to sleep well at night.

Karen Eber Davis

Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.


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