Sunday, June 30, 2013

What Criteria for New Board Members?

A friend of a friend of your Cousin Eddie recommends the “perfect candidate” for your board.  Your perfect response? “Terrific! I'll email you our board-affirmed criteria for board prospects—and let me know how your friend measures up.”

So what criteria does your board use to narrow the prospect list down? How do you select God-honoring board candidates?

I recommend the “6 D's,” as described in the ECFA Governance Toolbox Series No. 1: Recruiting Board Members.  (For more information on this series, view the short video here.) Here's my list:

1. Discerning Decision-Maker: Prior experience in making wise policy, financial, strategy and personnel decisions. (Is this nominee competent in both hiring and firing situations?)

2. Demonstrated Passion: Gives high priority to and cares deeply about our cause. (Limits board service to one or two boards at a time.)

3. Documented Team Player: Competent in group process skills, effective listener; leverages own spiritual gifts and those of others (Rom. 12, Eph. 4, 1 Cor. 12)

4. Diligent and Faithful Participant: Documented history of fulfilling our volunteer assignments on schedule and under budget. Keeps promises and keeps confidences. Inspires others.

5. Doer: Walks the Talk! Reference checks affirm a God-honoring lifestyle and character. Humble, prayerful, high integrity in all relationships. Affirms our statement of faith.

6. Donor: Because Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” this nominee is already a generous giver to our ministry. (Note: Many organizations define “generous” as prioritizing your organization in the Top-3 of your annual giving. Board members at all income levels can be generous.)

You might have different or additional criteria—but the point is: have board-affirmed criteria and measure your prospects objectively against this criteria.

In the next few blogs, we'll drill down on each of the 6 D's. In my color commentary for each point, I'll make the case that boards must exercise as much due diligence in board selection as they expect their senior leaders to exercise in staff selection.

In The Leader’s Palette: Seven Primary Colors Ralph E. Enlow, Jr., writes: 
“You can’t make up in training 
what you lack in selection."

Ditto board training versus board selection!

QUESTION: When is the last time we reviewed our written criteria for board member selection?

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