The Strauss Blog

Finding New Association Board Directors

An association’s annual general meeting (AGM) is for the membership to approve the financial statements of the previous year, elect or re-elect board members, hear reports from the board, approve motions on any changes to the by-laws, and bring forth any other business. Preparing for an AGM starts months before the actual meeting. This article will focus on the call for nominations aspect of the AGM; for more information about AGM’s in general, read my colleague’s article.

The Notice and Nomination Form

The call for nominations is part of the cycle of new directors joining the board; it is a crucial step to promoting growth and change in an association’s board. This cycle starts months before the AGM when the call for nominations is sent out to all members. This notice should be sent at least one month (refer to your by-laws and any governing law for specific date requirements) before the AGM, allowing time for nominations to be submitted and collected. Once the initial call for nominations has been sent out, a second call for nominations should be sent out a couple of weeks after the original. Please review a previous article to learn more about Key Timing Milestones under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act.

The notice should list the qualifications needed to be considered to become a board director, a link to the nomination form and a deadline to submit.

The nomination form should include the following key information:

  • Candidate’s basic information (name, title, etc.)
  • Nominator’s basic information
  • Co-nominator’s information (if required)
  • Candidate’s industry/professional/educational/volunteer profile
    • How many years have you been in the industry or profession?
    • What volunteer role(s) have you had?
    • What is your greatest strength of competency in association leadership?
    • Nominee’s acceptance clause

This form will provide the current board of directors with sufficient information to determine which candidate(s) will be the right fit to take on a leadership role within the association. By reviewing past work and volunteer experience, consulting with colleagues and understanding the goals of the candidate, the board will be equipped with the tools to find their next board member.

Searching for a new Association Leader

Bringing on a new board member is a big task for a board. It involves onboarding a new member and ensuring that they are up to date on the current activities on the association. Before the onboarding process even begins, the right candidate must be selected. Upon reviewing the submitted nominations, there are a couple of key qualities that association boards look for when searching for the ideal candidate.

  1. Must be a member in good standing
  2. Previous volunteer experience with the association is always an asset
  3. Must possess leadership qualities outlined in my colleague’s blog, Association Leadership Traits: Do You Have What It Takes to Lead?
  4.  Must have a clear understanding of the association’s goals, vision, and mission

Read another colleague’s article about supporting your board and staying on top of current projects.

The following is a good example of an excerpt from a nomination submitted by a candidate’s colleague highlighting the qualities the nominee possesses that would be applicable to the role of director.

“Five-year successful clinic owner – will introduce a fresh perspective. With experience with non-profit organizations. Well respected among fellow members. Two-year involvement in one of the associations committees providing insight and high-level vision to improving the profession.”

The Importance of new Board Members

The board of directors’ cycle and the call for nominations is important to a growing and changing association because it promotes and welcomes news ideas, new projects, and a new voice around the table. Having new directors join the board allows for new and diverse opinions that will challenge the way things are being done; it will encourage innovation, thought, and growth. Ensure to always have a board full of variety in demographic, location, profession, or background to allow for different perspectives and angles.

All in all, the first step to creating a solid and cohesive board of directors is a successful call for nominations and nomination process. You can ensure that it will go smoothly by following the suggestions above.