What To Do When a Potential Board Member Says "No"


It's likely that some of the individuals you invite to your board will be unable or unwilling to serve. High-profile people of color are very often asked to serve on boards or committees, and they often decline because they are already on other boards, or because of busy schedules.

If your invitation is declined, you may wish to ask if this person knows of any people who might be interested in serving on your board (see the section Be Clear About What the Board Needs above). You might also ask why the person who declined your offer did so - it could be that the person is busy, or it might be that they have concerns about the lasting effects of an inclusiveness initiative.

You can also explain your inclusiveness initiative, and ask for feedback about the work you've done thus far and the work that you plan to do. Soliciting feedback provides your organization with an opportunity to learn more about how some people of color perceive your organization.


Overview: Board of Directors

Why Board Composition Matters

Setting Goals for a More Diverse and Inclusive Board


Creating an Inclusive Environment


Creating the Pipeline


Recruiting Board Members of Color


Retaining Board Members and Utilizing Exit Interviews