Board Recruitment – Selection and appointment of board members

By now you should have one or more potential board members who have applied through your advertising process, or who have been nominated via your organisation’s rules.

Firstly check who is making the final decision on appointment or election. Remember your governing document is the rule book for how your organisation recruits new board members. Is it a decision by members at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) or can the board members decide between themselves?

Keep it legal

Make sure you carefully follow the procedures for appointment or election as set out in your organisation’s governing document.

Have you checked that the new board members are eligible? There may be something in your governing document which prevents someone from being a board member of your organisation. It may also be appropriate to check potential conflicts of interest for board members – eg if the applicant sits on the board or works for an organisation that has a financial interest with regards to the work of your organisation.

There may also be legislation which disqualifies some people from being a board member, because they are too young or because of a particular criminal conviction, bankruptcy notice or similar financial problems.

Make sure you ask board members to sign a declaration that they are eligible and willing to serve. A board member who serves while disqualified may be held liable for the debts of the organisation so it is important to get this right both for the individual and the organisation.

If you have not got a suitable declaration you should develop one. Activity 8: Create a board member eligibility declaration will help you to create one. You may also want to consider using this form to confirm agreement on any key issues that are important to your organisation.

In some cases where board members are eligible for CRB disclosures you may want to make this part of your appointment process. You should refer to eligibility criteria offered by CRB (see help and support for more information).

Still haven’t found what you’re looking for?

If you have been through the process and still have vacancies, you need to review what you have done so far. Take a look at your role description to see if anything needs adding or removing. You may also want to reconsider your promotional activity and think again about how and where to promote your board member opportunity. It is certainly worth taking the time to reflect as a board on what is needed and whether changes are needed to make the role more appealing. This can be done through a full board review.

You may also meet people who are not suitable for the board member role, but may have valuable skills and talents to offer that will benefit your organisation in other ways. If this is the case, let them know of other opportunities you may have for them to be involved. They will often be happy and feel valued to be asked to get involved and in return you may get a valuable volunteer for your organisation.

Showing your appreciation

Everyone who has applied to become a board member, no matter how suitable, should be thanked. This shows that your board appreciates the time and effort they have taken to show an interest in your board member vacancy. You may also be able to get them involved in your organisation in other ways.

Applicant for a board member role “I applied for a board member role and never heard back from the organisation. It really knocked my confidence. It took months before I applied for a similar role again."

Use Activity 9: Thank you email template to send to all those who put themselves forward.

See below for activity guides 8-9 and examples.

Independent Safeguarding Authority
Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) – The ISA has been created to help prevent unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults. They do this by working in partnership with the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and other delivery partners.

NCVO – governance and leadership
NCVO’s governance and leadership work supports and enables good governance and effective leadership in the voluntary and community sector.

Criminal Records Bureau
The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) helps employers in England and Wales make safer recruitment decisions.

Sport and Recreation Alliance support from a CRB registered body.