Recruiting new board members provides dedicated co-op directors their ultimate “legacy” opportunity. While boards may delegate the work of handling recruitment, nominations, and coordinating the co-op’s elections to a committee, the responsibility to make sure well-qualified members are put forward for election is the entire board’s.
Yet all too often, this task gets left to the last minute or little attention given the pressing day-to-day business of the board. Using a year-round process that seeks out co-op members with skills and expertise that can contribute to an effective board and make sure that new directors step into the role aware of what is ahead speaks volumes about the co-op’s commitment to its democratic principles. It says: The board is important, and its work makes a difference.
This issue includes four short articles to help you consider ways to improve your board’s recruitment process. The study guide provides a checklist and some suggested activities to help your board and nominating committee design and streamline your recruitment process.
The Recipe, Never the Same Twice: My Path to Board Membership – Cindy Owings
“Seeking potential candidates for board membership calls for creativity and tenacity on the part of current board members, plus a handful of serendipity.”
A Pinch of Interest, a Dash of Excellence: Finding Great Board Members – Marcia Shaw
“Finding good board candidates is a year-round process. It can rarely be accomplished with one conversation. You can interest potential candidates by talking up your board work and focusing on what’s been interesting and challenging about your past experiences.”
Freshen It Up: An Awesome Board Candidate Packet – Martha Whitman
“More than anything, we want potential directors to understand board work. We want them to be clear on what they can expect and what we expect of them.”
A Stew’s Long Simmer: Board Recruitment All Year Long – Gail Graham
“We are always looking for good candidates to put before our membership, and we want to have a well-oiled process in place to ensure that we don’t have to scramble at the last minute.” Here’s how we have solved this at Mississippi Market Co-op.
Study Guide – Nominating Committee Responsibilities Checklist
Five key steps, starting with creating a nominations and elections calendar for the coming year, to help your nominating committee fulfill this important responsibility. This checklist includes some interesting new ideas, too, to help you attract and recruit candidates.
We welcome your comments, suggestions, and stories. Did you learn something? Were the discussions that came out of this issue useful to your board? How did your board use this issue in improving its nominations and recruitment process and what new ideas can you contribute to this role? Send your suggestions, comments, experiences, and/or reactions to firstname.lastname@example.org.