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The philanthropic environment today is such that traditional board recruiting practices, asking a friend about a friend of a friend of a friend, will no longer serve.

During the recent Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) International Conference, Theresa Pesch, president of the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota Foundation, offered a look at best practices for both board recruitment and board development. These practices are part of an overall effort to establish and maintain full engagement by board members in the organization’s fulfillment of its mission.

The best practices are:

  • Board/volunteer recruiting requires a new model, one that also looks at relationships and an individual’s ability to serve as a role model and ambassador;
  • Recruit for the mission;
  • Don’t forget to also recruit for wealth;
  • Understand the strategy and create “your” board and volunteers of choice;
  • Ensure engagement from the start by taking on-boarding (prepare, tour and create powerful experiences, plan for success with a written statement of expectations) seriously and co-creating engagement plans (incorporating family and business philanthropic plans and evaluating the history of giving to customize a stewardship plan);
  • Train and coach leaders to see their role in philanthropy;
  • Create highly engaged, experiential board/volunteer meetings; and,
  • Position the board in the organization’s marketplace.

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