Top Questions to Ask When Choosing a Board Matching Service
Interested in joining a nonprofit board but not sure how to decide which board placement service is right for you? We hope our list of top questions to ask before choosing will help you. Does the service offer boards in all nonprofit interest areas? In other words, are they focused on youth-oriented boards alone, or do their nonprofit clients serve consumers of all ages. Are they focused on education or poverty-relief alone, and you’d prefer a board in the arts, fighting a particular disease like Alzheimer’s or cancer, or working on environmental reform or microfinance? Do they only service organizations that are well-established or will they work with start-ups as well? Do they offer boards serving nationally and internationally, or just locally?
Choosing a board matching service is an important first step to finding the perfect board. Asking the tough questions up-front is the only way to make sure you are making the right choice.
Here’s our list of Top Questions to ask any board matching service:
1. Location, Location, Location.
Does the service offer boards serving locally, nationally and internationally? Or just locally? Does that matter to you?
2. Every Interest Area.
Does the service offer boards serving in a wide variety of interest areas? In other words, are they focused on youth-oriented boards alone, or do their nonprofit clients serve consumers of all ages. Are they focused on education or poverty-relief alone, and you’d prefer a board in the arts, fighting a particular disease like Alzheimer’s or cancer, or working on environmental reform or microfinance? Do they only service organizations that are well-established or will they work with start-ups as well?
3. Hundreds of Choices.
How many board choices do they offer? BoardAssist offers hundreds. How many organizations do they support? Do they let you interview with more than one board at a time, to give you a basis of comparison? Often services that only match with nonprofits they fund, limit you to interviewing with one board at a time. Find out.
4. No Surprises.
Does the service pull out from their clients exactly how much money is expected annually from board members? Is it a total number that includes everything you must personally give, as well as what you are expected to raise from friends, benefit ticket sales, journal ads, etc?
5. Free or Fee?
Does the service charge candidates a fee for their assistance?
6. Personal Attention from Those Who Know.
Is there someone at the service who will personally match you with the right board, not just invite you to a board fair, or provide you with a list of nonprofits to peruse on your own? What are their credentials? How long have they been working as a board recruiter? Do they really know the boards they are suggesting to you?
7. Tick Tock.
Your time matters. That’s why BoardAssist only sends you to meet with boards that we have first fully screened – boards where we feel relatively confident you will be a strong fit and be offered a board seat. Because we have built many of the boards where we might send you, we know them well, which gives us a strong ability to effect a successful match using your time as efficiently as possible. Does the service you are considering feel confident you will receive a board offer after investing your time in exploring that particular board?
8. I Wanna Hold Your Hand.
Does the service stay involved throughout the matching process, to answer questions and keep the interview process on track? Do they stay in touch after the match?
9. Metrics Matter.
Does the service track their metrics to understand if the matches they effect are ones that are working long term? Do their placements tend to stay on boards where they are placed at least 5 years? Do their placements really engage and have the chance to become leaders?
10. Love You or Just Your Wallet.
Does the service screen out boards that just want your money, and are not really going to value your intellectual capital. At BoardAssist, with 93% of our candidates serving as leaders on the boards where we place them, within 12 months of being placed, we can feel confident our placements are truly engaging where we place them.
11. Insider Knowledge.
Why do BoardAssist placements quickly become leaders on the boards where we place them and stay engaged? Because of the advantage the intimate knowledge we have about the boards with which we work gives us. Often we will be sending candidates to meet with boards where we have built the entire executive committee. We know these boards well – what they need, what the different personalities are that make up the team, etc. That’s the secret sauce that increases the likelihood we will find you a perfect fit. Does your service really intimately know the board where they are sending you?
12. Bring in The Pros.
Is board matching the primary product this service offers or just an ancillary product? BoardAssist spends 100% of our day working to find our candidates their dream boards. Board matching is our sole function and, as such, you are our top priority.
For a full list of all the things to consider before joining a nonprofit, we encourage you to download our book Giving Back, for free, from our website.
Serving on a nonprofit board can be incredibly rewarding if you find the perfect board, where you can truly engage and make a difference. If you are interested in serving on a board that meets in the New York area, please let us know so we can find the ideal fit for you.
Watch our recent nationally televised interview detailing how easy it is to find and choose a perfect board with BoardAssist.