The motto for the Boy Scouts of America is “Be Prepared” and non-profit executives would do well to use it when the nominating process for directors and officers of the organization is underway. The nominating committee meeting is just beginning and hardly any of the members have given much, if any thought as to who will be your next boss. If they don’t, then you better! The top left hand drawer of my desk always contained a list of potential leaders for the organization and they all had been fully vetted. At the nominating committee meeting the Exec should have that list available and be prepared to offer up TWO good names for every slot that is open on the board.Giving the members options will serve you well in the process.So let’s start vetting your prospects for leading your organization:
Is the prospect committed to the organization, do they BELIEVE in the mission?
Is he/she a recognized community leader? Can they get things done?
Do they have the ability to see the big picture? No tunnel vision here!
Are they the decision maker in their firm? If they have to ask their boss how to vote on an issue then you need the boss on the list instead.
Are they a level-headed decision-maker? No knee jerk reactionaries please.
Do they contribute personally and financially with gusto? Goes back to commitment.
Are they willing to allow your ”input” on policy discussions? You live the issues so you must be allowed to enter the policy discussion but always remember they have the vote, not you.
Will they make the time to attend more than just Board Meetings? Let’s show the flag here.
They must recognize the constraints of the organization. You represent many different constituencies not just their firm.
They must be busy!! You are the Exec not them and you need to be allowed to do your job.
They must recognize the importance of adequate staffing for the organization.
They should be well compensated so they have no problem compensating you and you your staff.
They should not be stingy! Pay you what you are worth.
They must have potential! These prospects may be called on to play a larger role in the organization.
Follow these few suggestions and you will now have a fully vetted list of potential directors or even officers for your organization. Ironically the members of the nominating committee will appreciate that you have taken the time to go through this process and present them with qualified candidates for the open positions on your board.
You came “PREPARED”!