Questions to Ask When Recruiting Board Members of Color


Selection of a balanced team of highly functional board members is the culmination of many considerations, such as resonance with mission.

Consider asking the following questions when recruiting board members of color (just as you would ask before recruiting any new board members):

(1) What skills are needed (e.g., accounting, fundraising, marketing, technical, legal)?

(2) What perspectives are important and valued (e.g., community served, business, artistic or other demographic, age/race/ethnic/gender)?

(3) What is your board culture? Is it diverse or really inclusive in its spirit and practice? Has the organization engaged in intentional inclusiveness work? What are your retention rates? How do you welcome, train, and engage new board members? Is it a "working, planning, hands-on, policy, and/or fundraising board? Are roles, communication, and power structures clear within the board and staff? Is the board style business-like or informal? How do you manage conflict?

(4) How often do you meet? How long are board terms? How much work is done in committee? What are your committees? What are contribution expectations re: time, talent, contacts, and money?

(5) What are immediate and future organizational goals? How will the upcoming series of board/committee rotations support mission integrity and the evolution of future goals?

(6) Do you have a team that has a mutual informational conversation with a potential board candidate or invite him or her to a meeting so that you can all make informed choices?