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Posted by Deborah Millhouse, President of CEO, Inc.

Tenure among non-profit executive directors averages about two years. The tenure of the average non-profit board member is about three years. That means that if you are serving on a non-profit Board of Director, you will probably hire a new executive director during your tenure.
The process proceeds more smoothly and with greater success if board members:

1. Take a close look at the organization and set strategic goals for the future. What talents, skills and abilities does your organization need at the top to reach those goals?

2. Communicate with the staff to pave the way for changes that will occur when a new leader is hired. Fear can be calmed and success facilitated when communications leave no room for mis-interpretation.

3. Communicate with other board members. Not everyone on the board will be involved in every step of the recruiting process. But the board must approve the recommended candidate by a majority vote. Communications with the board throughout the recruiting and selection process will minimize surprises and raise the probability level of an affirmative decision by the board.

4. Pay attention to details. Look at funding, staffing, programs and services implemented by candidates. How did they approach challenges?

5. Get actively involved in interviews. When several board members are involved in interviewing candidates, the diversity of perspective leads to better choices.

6. Talk to people who have worked closely with the candidates. Their responses will give you a better sense of the reality of the person’s ability to lead your organization.

Following these simple guidelines during the search process will lead to better decisions by the board members and ensure you secure your organization’s future.

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