All On-Board

For many families June ushers in the end of the school year. For many non-profits June signals the beginning of a new year as we  wrap up last fiscal year’s audits and annual reports and ask our membership to approve our new slate of board members at our annual general meetings. In fact, June is one of the busiest AGM month’s of the year, and is probably the month when the greatest number of non profits are literally bringing people on-board.

Volunteer Victoria knows a lot about the process of recruiting and appointing board members. We have tons of tools and resources to help member agencies learn more about board governance and board members roles and responsibilities. And, each year, we help individual organizations address governance challenges or explore ways to recruit, engage, or train new/existing board members. As a whole, the local board community is strong, committed, and tremendously impactful. 

This being said, we know that recruiting new board members with all the skills you need to help your organization move forward is not always simple or fast and it can sometimes feel like a challenge. The statistics support the point. In 2012, 6% of all volunteer positions posted through Volunteer Victoria were board positions. These positions were viewed by potential volunteers just 4% of the time – suggesting that the local demand for board members may be greater than the the number of people willing to consider applying for the positions.

Board recruitment challenges may also intensify in the coming years as a larger number of board members reach retirement stage – the point at which individual board members wish to stop volunteering in board roles (regardless of their age) or choose to reduce their volume of board work. An informal survey of board members at a recent workshop revealed that close to 40% of attendees sit on more than 2 boards. Trends also suggest that the younger demographic of volunteers – while very capable, educated, and committed – favour volunteer positions with shorter durations.  

To help identify potential areas of risk, consider the following: 
How many of your current board members sit on more than 1 board? What strategies can you implement to help board members with multiple board commitments? 
How many current board members have reached retirement stage or are within 2 years of retirement? How will you proactively address these challenges? 
Which board positions in your organization are hardest to recruit for? What can you do to increase your pool of volunteers for this position? 
How can you diversify your board?  
How can you enhance board member engagement and satisfaction and make the most of the time you spend with board members?

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