You’ve been elected to a nonprofit board, and you’re giving time, treasure, and talent to an amazing community organization. You’re committed to making a difference, and your board is ready to recruit others to join and strengthen the board. What should you consider?

Learn from the experts

We recently recognized six impressive nonprofit board members as our 2019 Leaders & Luminaries award winners. We brought the awardees together for a panel discussion to share their wisdom with over 100 nonprofits. Key themes and tips emerged from these board experts:

  1. The board is the foundation. Is your team strong, diverse, and forward-thinking? Recruit new board members who not only share your organization’s mission, but also embrace its long-term vision, sustainability, and strategic plan.
  2. Transparency is key. Let prospective board members know of the time commitment and talent that is needed to round out the team, especially in a startup organization. Discuss their availability to roll up their sleeves, join committees, and do some intensive work. If they might be tapped for an Officer role one day, let them know upfront.
  3. Know your story. In today’s digital world, the messaging on your website and social media should be clear and consistent. Is everyone on your board and staff telling the same story? Do you know your elevator pitch? Are your program success metrics visible and relevant?
  4. Keep asking the tough questions. It’s important to understand the other organizations and programs in your space. What makes yours unique? Consider effective partnerships, sharing resources, and opportunities for collaboration. Don’t be afraid to ask your board the hard questions (such as ‘Do we need to exist?’) during these conversations.
  5. Celebrate your successes. Take the time to reflect on how far you’ve come personally, as well as the contributions you and the organization have made. Highlight and proudly share how your organization if filling a critical need in the community. The person you’re recruiting will want to know!

Why it matters

It’s essential for the nonprofit community to remain a vibrant, healthy part of our society.

According to Jennifer Hutchins, Executive Director of Maine Association of Nonprofits, nonprofits contribute approximately $12 billion per year to the economy through wages, purchases, and professional services. In fact, 1 in 6 Maine workers are employed by the nonprofit community, representing more than 98,000 jobs!

Thank you to our 2019 Leaders and Luminaries for taking the extraordinary leap forward. We heard their message to recruit for board members who embody the passion, resourcefulness, and strategic-thinking of these individuals in order to take your board to the next level of success.

By Renée Smyth, Chief Experience & Marketing Officer, Camden National Bank

About Leaders and Luminaries

On Tuesday, November 12, 2019, Camden National Bank recognized six nonprofit board directors with 2019 Leaders & Luminaries Awards and $22,000 in grants for their respective organizations. The awards breakfast took place during Maine Association of Nonprofits’ executive forum, “Focus on Strategic Board Recruitment: Connecting People with Purpose.” Since the Leaders & Luminaries Awards began in 2011, Camden National Bank has now given $151,000 to 43 Maine nonprofits through its private charitable foundation, The Bank of Maine Foundation.

2019 Leaders & Luminaries Award Winners: John Manganello, Co-Founder & Board President, Boots2Roots; Lydia MacDonald, Board Trustee and former Board President, Island Community Center; Katie Feliciano, Board Vice-Chair, Literacy Volunteers of Greater Augusta (LVA); Barrett Brown, Board President, Midcoast Recreation Center (MRC); Katie Shorey, Board Chair, Startup Maine; Clayton Cleaves, Board Director, Four Directions Development Corporation.