Encouraging Ideal Trustees to Serve Again
Vol. 15 No. 2
A profiled Board includes Trustees who collectively possess the skills, expertise, clout, and financial resources to enable a school to fulfill its mission. The Committee on Trustees is charged with developing and maintaining this “profile” based on the requirements of the school’s planning documents. A key element in this process is re-recruiting Trustees who fit the profile.
Strategies for persuading current Trustees to remain on the Board for their allowable terms—or former Trustees to return after a break in service—will have many similarities to those developed for “new blood” recruitment. A Trustee cultivation/recruitment plan typically has four phases.
- Identification of ideal Board members. Analyze your present Board profile, and then identify the specific “talent” you will lose and the year this will occur (based on term limitations). To place a Trustee on the list for possible future Board membership, base your decision on projected school needs in the strategic and other planning documents.
- Research. Review and update all information files. Focus on each Trustee’s areas of involvement in your school. Are there other areas of strength? Could the returning Trustee fill other committee assignments?
- Cultivation during the last 12 to 16 months of Board service. Select a cultivator who is a compatible match—this person oversees the re-recruitment process, is a member of the Committee on Trustees or is a Board Chair, and is able to persuade the Trustee prospect to say “yes.”Listen carefully and actively to the prospect; identify his/her main interests, values, and hopes for the school's future; and involve the prospect in the planning of future school goals that match his/her interests.
- Cultivation during the period between service completion and the time the cultivator invites the Trustee prospect to rejoin the Board. Continue to involve the prospect in areas of high interest in planning school goals. Keep the person involved with the school and consider asking the prospect to serve on a Board committee as a non-Board member. Seek advice/expertise from the person based on his/her areas of greatest commitment.
Your school needs a strong, profiled Board combining the best skills and knowledge available. The right cultivators—following a well-developed plan—enable you to maintain a balanced, composite Board profile.