Part 6 - Volunteers and Board of Directors


You have a vacancy and it’s time to recruit your new board member.  Based on the analysis of board gaps and skill needs, organizations will want to set explicit goals in the recruitment and selection process. It’s important to think beyond the ‘token’ member and aim for critical mass.

  • With diversity and inclusion in mind, ask all your current board members, volunteer groups and staff if there is anybody in their broad networks they could recommend.
  • At the same time, you don’t want people just like you. Could you advertise in a local community paper or ethnic media or through the newsletters of diverse professional associations for volunteers or board members, making your mandate, inclusive vision and your goals in clear and plain language?
  • What about the people attending your events or performances, or following your website? Have you made it clear in those forums you’re seeking new board members?
  • What about getting to know the leaders of local community groups, social service groups, professional associations and community-based media outlets, and letting them know you’re looking for new board members?
  • Have you consulted board matching groups such as DiverseCity on Board? While not specifically a diversity program, Business for the Arts boardLink program is a matching program to connect business professionals to positions with volunteer arts board.

When interested candidates give their resume, see how it aligns with your board matrix and the gaps you’ve identified. If it’s a good fit, the next stage is an interview.

Welcoming Your New Board Member

A diverse and inclusive board may require some accommodations.

  • Are your board meetings held in accessible spaces and are your documents accessible?
  • Are you aware of cultural holidays so meetings don’t conflict?
  • Are your social activities open and welcoming to everyone? For example, are there other offerings besides alcohol?
  • Think about barriers to participation – speak slowly and clearly in meetings for intelligibility, make it easy for people to bring in interpreters or guide dogs, consider changes in meeting times.
  • New board members may not know your short forms. Not everybody is aware of the COC (Canadian Opera Company), the OAC (Ontario Art Council) or PACT (Professional Association of Canadian Theatres). You can give sector knowledge in your orientation program.