The demanding role of board, council or committee member requires members with the right values, skills, attitude and commitment to put themselves forward. Getting elected to a voluntary leadership role such as this, often requires these attributes in abundance.

Lack of member participation can result in uncontested elections; for some membership organisations the familiarity of boards comprising long-standing members is a comfortable scenario. However, more forward thinking organisations understand that keeping the representation of your board balanced and up to date, although sometimes challenging, is necessary for its future development. Attracting new candidates for board member positions will allow a diverse representation of the membership to come forward with fresh ideas.

Here are some simple points to attract new members to your board.

Awareness of the role:

The role of board member can be challenging, so in order to get new candidates to participate in the process a clear outline of the requirements should be made readily available to all members. Included should be an explanation of the role and the benefits of becoming a board member. Professional development, leadership building and networking opportunities are tangible benefits that can be associated with board member positions.

Membership organisations should factor in the importance of the member awareness stage into the election timeline. Ideally, the pre-nomination phase  should be around four weeks, this should be enough time to disseminate the information to your members and generate a good level of awareness. A further three to four weeks is normally sufficient for nominations.

‘Onboarding’ members to a crucial leadership role may always be required, but by having engaged a good pool of members with your awareness efforts, it is more than likely that you will have a strong group of qualified candidates, which can reduce your post-election training requirements.

Disseminate the information:

In order to experience the best result you may want to consider using a mixture of channels. From printed information packs, newsletters and postcard ‘reminders’ to intranet / microsites, social media and member emails – these are all ways to encourage participation from potential candidates. In addition, face to face workshops and webinars can be a useful way to explain the requirements of a board member – this way any member feedback can be addressed immediately.

Make it easy to nominate:

Providing nomination packs and / or having an online nomination platform will make it easy for enthused members to put themselves forward. The nomination process for professional membership organisations will more than likely require that the candidates secure one or more supporters. Making the candidates aware of this and ensuring your nomination period is long enough, will allow candidates to prepare in plenty of time to submit their applications and canvass support.

In addition, any postal packs should be marked with the organisation’s branding and an explanation of the pack’s contents, so that it is easily identifiable to members. If the process has incorporated a particular theme or colour scheme, it is a good idea to carry this on all printed and electronic communications.

UK Engage provides election services for many types of membership organisations; from NHS foundation trusts and social housing providers to professional bodies and company pension schemes. Contact UK Engage today by phone or email.

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