3 Key Steps to Building Your Association’s Board

It is essential for associations to emphasize the importance of their board, because the board represents association members along with the industry the association represents. Therefore, your board should be a group of brilliant people and leaders in your association’s industry.

Where do board members come from?
Some board members have participated in their association for years and are committed, dynamic and reputable individuals who are devoted to serving the association and advancing its cause. Other board members are new to the association, but have an inherent drive to make a successful impact on the association.

That said, not all board members return year after year, and today’s associations are facing board transition challenges. Make sure your board is top-notch using our three key steps:

1. The 12-Month Board Election Process
Annual elections means annual turnover.  However, not all associations have developed processes for electing new board members. Some associations have a traditional nominating committee or the association president asks current board members to nominate members.  Nonetheless, the word “election” is scary and may frighten standout members away from seeking a nomination.

Therefore, it is essential to start the election process approximately 12 months in advance. Throughout the 12 months, set up sub-committees for members to gain experience in association issues. Additionally, invite members to current board meetings where they can familiarize themselves with the board process. As a result, when election time comes around, no one will fear potential nominations and, instead, be enthusiastic about the opportunity.

2. Recruitment, Recruitment, Recruitment
Associations, no matter how large, struggle to find qualified board members. Consequently, more associations are developing broad recruitment strategies to attract potential board members.

Recruiting potential board members for your association is a relationship-building process. The more members your association’s leaders engage with, the greater potential for creating a stronger board.  Therefore, what can your association do to attract a broader range of members during board recruitments periods?

Hosting webinars and in-person events gives potential board members an opportunity to learn about what is involved when serving as a board member, and what can be gained from the experience.  Likewise, hosting  informal meet-and-greets with the current board outside of meetings creates a less intimidating environment for future board members and allows them to freely ask questions.

3. Evaluate Your Candidates
Your association has candidates and is ready to move forward. Evaluating candidates is a critical step when building your association board. Therefore, it is important to consider the following:

• Can the candidate contribute the necessary time to be an effective board member?
• Do they understand the association’s values and mission?
• What key skills do they possess that would help the board and contribute to the association’s cause?
• How have they demonstrated leadership skills in their career experience?

Developing a well thought out evaluation will give you and current board members a glimpse into the skills of a prospective member and how well they will fit in with the needs of the association.

Ultimately, planning a clear direction and process will lead to long-term success for running an efficient board, and trickle down a positive effect onto your association’s mission and members.

Next step: We work side-by-side with associations to prepare them for the future. Find out more about our services specific for associations, including technology solutions. Visit our Association Accounting Solutions page to find out more.

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