Who Gets On Your Board? Why? How?

board development and revitalization mission. vision. values roles and responsibilities Nov 13, 2023
Who Gets On Your Board? Why? How?


Everyone wants, or at least say they want, the right board members (from your matrix), in the right seats (roles), on the right bus (fit), heading in the right direction (mission accomplished).



We have written previously (and recently!) on these basics, so we will not repeat them here.


You have a matrix of preferred demographics, skills and experiences for your board.

You have matched your current (and continuing) board members to the matrix. You understand the gaps and the reasons and importance of filling them.

You have considered the names of prospective board members, not only for this round, but if they cannot serve now, then for the future. You have a roster.

You have put out a call to your community (however defined – municipality, association, members) for interested partied to come forward.

You have an individual or group (committee) responsible for this whole procedure as an ongoing process, not just a one-off event. A Governance Committee comes to mind!

You have a board member role description and code of conduct (or at least written agreements) for prospective members to review and consider. These could be part of an “oath of office,” so it is taken seriously, and accountability is considered. These documents include expectations for time, participation and contribution.


Easy-peasy. Get started, round them up, vet, perhaps have an election and orient, onboard. Get the bus rolling.


But wait. What if you don’t make the appointments? What if it is a third party, for example, a mayor and council, for some or even all of the board members?

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In some cases, they will delegate the process to the board entirely (yes, this happens). In some cases, they will consult with the board beforehand (yes, this happens). In other cases, they will ignore the board and even warn of “interference” (sadly, yes, this too happens).

So how do you deal with the latter? It falls to the chair to develop a plan and a process. Review our blogs on advocacy and influence. Or download our free e-book here.

There needs to be a relationship. There needs to be respect. There needs to be an investment of time and a connecting of agendas.

So you acknowledge it is not your responsibility, and you are not looking to usurp authority.

You acknowledge that you both want the most effective and efficient use of tax dollars. You do not need users (you have advocacy committees) or people who “love” you; you need people who understand law, finance, and governance and are committed to your mission. You want to make a difference for the people who live in your community.


So you and the board have developed a matrix of needs. You have encouraged people to apply. You have a board-approved role description stating time commitments and expectations.

You ask only that the board's needs be considered, as you are both committed to the best possible board for the best possible service.

You ask only that the applications be reviewed through a number of lenses, including the needs of the board.

You make this known in the most respectful way possible to the mayor, selected members of the council, the city manager and anyone else influencing the process.

And you do not expect success the first time out. You go back and back. Over and over again. Each time there is a vacancy.


And you will be heard. And you will succeed. And it is worth the effort!


What are your main “pain points” dealing with board recruitment?

What advice would be most helpful to you?
And we always assume that you are asking for a friend!


Get in touch. We’ll address your questions and concerns in an upcoming blog post.




It's Worth the Effort

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P.S. May I ask a tiny favour? Would you mind sharing this blog with one person? I would love it. You can post the links in your Facebook Groups, LinkedIn or even send an email.

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