With social media connecting more people, networks and causes, there is a viable avenue to addressing the deficit in trustee placements. Delivering Effective Governance: Insights from the boards of larger charities (by Mike Hudson and Jacinta Ashworth) found that the most effective methods of recruiting candidates for board membership were reported to be board member, staff contacts and public advertisements. 68% used external methods and 10% used only external methods.
Admittedly, more than one approach is needed to counter the board recruitment challenge. LinkedIn, the professional networking site, offers a free new service called Board Connect to help charities recruit board members who have much-needed skills. LinkedIn prides itself in matching talents to the right people and engendering strategic partnerships online by professional online connections and sharing. . Board Connect is an effort to “build in philanthropic impact for LinkedIn .” According to Cofounder, Hoffman the social-media’s Co-founder, LinkedIn is in a good position to help charities find qualified trustees. Charities can post detailed information about their organisations and professional and volunteer connections of its board members. Using Board Connect groups can list skills that can be helpful and search LinkedIn for new board members. Board Connect produces a list of people matching the criteria and who have connections to one or more board members or staff members at the organisation.
In no way is it a free lunch and the participating charity has to meet certain criteria to be eligible for Board Connect. This involves completing a short questionnaire, participating in a 45-minute Webcast that describes how to use Board Connect and providing proof of the organisation’s tax exempt status.
With the growth of social media and the demand for suitable board members, services such as Board Connect may be the answer of the board recruitment deficit. LinkedIn has more than 175 million people detailing their professional expertise and can be a rich source of potential trustees.