Building Your Nonprofit Board

Board recruitment and renewal is a constant challenge for many nonprofits. It can be hard to find the right person, and too often Boards fall into one of two camps. They either:

  1. Hold out for the “perfect” candidate
  2. Take in anyone that expresses interest.

Neither ends up advancing the mission or strengthening the nonprofit.


The following questions can help you and your board think through how you approach specific candidates and recruitment in general.  They are intended to guide and perhaps reframe your thinking.

Questions to Ask About Your Organization:

  • How can we best use the board to advance our mission?
  • Where do we want to go as an organization? What do we need to get there?
  • Why would someone want to join our board?
  • What could the board do differently to become more inclusive and welcoming to the type of candidates we want to attract?

Questions to Ask About a Potential Board Member:

  • How will this person help our nonprofit fulfill its mission and reach its strategic goals?
  • Can this person broaden our vision as an organization?
  • Why does this person want to be on our board?
  • What does this person expect to gain from joining our board?
  • Is this person really excited about our mission?

Questions to Ask a Potential Board Member:

  • What do you like about our mission and why do you want to join this board?
  • How do you see yourself contributing to the organization?
  • Have you served on a board before? What was that experience like?
  • Do you have enough flexibility in your schedule to attend regular meetings and other events?
  • How do you feel about helping with fundraising and making a personal financial contribution to the organization?
  • What skills, connections, resources, and expertise will you bring to the organization?
  • Do you have any concerns about joining this board?
  • What would make this board experience rewarding for you?

Each year ESC helps dozens of nonprofits figure out how to strategically grow and improve their boards by adopting policies, procedures, and practices tailored to their unique culture and needs.