Where to Find Nonprofit Board Officers


Let’s admit it. Sometimes it is hard to talk people into serving as board officers. There are lots of excuses for not wanting to serve. Perhaps candidates are worried they don’t have the time, knowledge, or confidence to lead. Most of those reasons are valid. What can you do to identify future leaders and to prepare them to serve? After all, you don’t want to have to twist arms to fill board roles. Ideally, you can groom future board officers before you need them, and never run out of great candidates.

Where to Find Nonprofit Board Officers

Start with the Executive Committee

Your executive committee (if you have one) is tasked with planning for the overall governance of your board. This group is the ideal place to begin discussing where to look for prospective new officers. They should be familiar with the strengths and skills of all the board members, as well as the main players in the committee level.

Here are some questions for the executive committee:

  • Who are the most engaged and active members of this board of directors?
  • Which people volunteered for committees and task forces and followed through on the commitment?
  • Does anyone come up with creative ideas and is willing to work on those ideas?
  • Who is eager to learn?
  • Which board members aren’t afraid to speak up at meetings?
  • Have any board members talked about becoming an officer?
  • Has anyone served as an officer of another organization’s board of directors?
  • What leaders from the Young Professionals Board might you add to the governing board?

You’ve Identified Board Officer Candidates… Now What?

It is likely that the same names will pop up from everyone. What’s next? Your board needs a few trusted methods for grooming new board officers. The goal here is to not only suggest officership to these individuals, but to also prepare them for the job. Even if they never become board officers, they will likely be more loyal supporters and better trained board members.

  • Have a couple of board officers invite the “prospects” to coffee. Let them know that their dedication has not gone unnoticed.
  • Ask them if they are interested in moving into leadership positions in the future. It’s flattering to be asked. Even if someone may not be ready to consider it now, s/he will begin to think about the future.
  • Provide opportunities for potential leaders to move into chairmanships of committees or task forces.

Many people will not suggest themselves as potential officers. They may truly be interested, but don’t want to seem to be overly ambitious. Make sure that board members know that if they are interested in a leadership position at some point, they should let someone on the governance committee know. You may be surprised to find out that board officer candidates have been hiding in plain sight!

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