Board and volunteer recruitment and retention are essential to any nonprofit organization. Board members and volunteers can make or break a nonprofit organization. The goal is for these individuals to make – NOT break. In a five-part series, I am honored to share with you my top five tips for recruiting and retaining high-performing board members and volunteers.
My fifth tip is to evaluate your volunteers.
Following are key points to keep in mind:
- Now that you have recruited high-performing board members and volunteers and you are doing a pretty good job of retaining them, you must evaluate them.
- Some organizations are not comfortable evaluating their volunteers, because the volunteers are not being compensated monetarily.
- That does not matter. Any board member or volunteer who is not comfortable being evaluated probably should NOT serve on your board.
- The evaluation process should be simple and efficient. You will review the board member responsibilities and rate, on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest, how well each board member is doing with each responsibility.
- This evaluation should be conducted by the nominating committee once a year at the conclusion of your fiscal year.
- The evaluation should be documented in writing and discussed with each board member in person.
- Those board members who are doing well should be told that and commended for their service. If there are areas for improvement, that information should be shared as well.
- Those board members who are not doing well should be told that and given suggestions to improve. As always, please start off with the positive – when applicable – and transition to the areas that need improvement.
- When appropriate, you might want to suggest that a board member resign from the board or take a break from the board and reapply for membership in the future.
- I have worked with 10 boards over the course of my professional career. In cases when board members were not doing well, when they were asked to resign, they were relieved. Most low-performing board members are aware they are not performing well and want to do better. Help them to find a more appropriate role in your organization or help them to resign gracefully.
I recommend that you:
- Remember that high-performing board members do NOT like serving with low-performing board members. Therefore, it is your responsibility to evaluate your board members and thus remove the low-performing ones.
- Note that it is your responsibility to hold board members and volunteers accountable and to be honest, candid and respectful with your feedback
What idea do you have?