Back to all

Jul 19th, 2023

Find Your Newest Advocate with Board Recruitment

Take volunteer relationships to the next level.


Gohar Chichian
Share this page:

Nonprofits and their funders know that having a diverse, engaged board signals the strength of an organization and its readiness to win grants. In a sector where the majority of nonprofits will likely remain small, but will continue to provide meaningful programming, few affordable resources exist to help these organizations understand how to recruit and manage a board.

Introducing board recruitment: a new product feature that helps nonprofits find trusted board members. It builds on the relationships created on Catchafire by volunteers and nonprofits who work together on projects and calls.

Nonprofits often rely on their own networks to find board members, which can result in less diverse boards and board members who are less passionate, unqualified, or unreliable. Recruiting board members can be a time consuming process that doesn’t always result in finding a good fit. Nonprofits need more qualified and committed board members - and need help finding them. With this latest product release, nonprofits can now find board members leveraging the existing connections we have on Catchafire.

Volunteers on Catchafire have the expertise and dedication to join a board.

Our latest survey found that our volunteer base included:

  • 16 years of professional experience, on average
  • 67% have previous experience with a nonprofit organization
  • 76% have served or are currently serving as a board or staff member of a nonprofit organization
  • 72% are mid-level or senior employees at their organizations
  • 42% have an advanced degree

Many volunteers on Catchafire go from volunteers to repeat volunteers, donors, informal advisors, or board members. After positive experiences with organizations on the Catchafire platform, volunteers often want to go beyond short-term volunteering and are very interested in finding board positions.

There are significant benefits to board service for volunteers; they can leverage their professional skills, build their network and portfolio, and advance their careers. Joining a board provides a valuable professional development opportunity, while allowing individuals to have a deeper community impact and advocate for causes they care about.

Accountability and commitment is the number one nonprofit need for board members. Successful board members often volunteer for the organization first, as this provides the foundation of a relationship, as well as a working understanding of what the nonprofit does and what it needs. As a skilled professional, there aren’t many options for finding board positions outside of your own social or professional network. Board Recruitment is a win-win for both nonprofits and volunteers.

Since we are already facilitating meaningful connections on our platform, we’re positioned perfectly to help our users connect on a much deeper level. Working on a project together or chatting over the phone about some of the organization's biggest needs is a great way to build a trusting relationship that leads to board service. With this functionality added directly into the Catchafire platform, we can reduce much of the stress and effort required to find the right board members or positions. We’re taking volunteer relationships to the next level.

Board recruitment: how it works

Watch our product demo here. Users will connect just as they do now on projects and calls. At any time, with just a simple toggle in their settings, volunteers and volunteer managers can express their interest in board service.

The “Open to Board Recruitment” toggle on volunteer profiles indicates the volunteer is interested in board service.

The “Recruiting for Board Service” toggle on volunteer manager (nonprofit) profiles indicates the nonprofit is looking for new board members and is open to discussing the opportunity with their volunteers on Catchafire.

On the dashboard, under ‘my projects,’ the volunteer manager can see the project, the volunteer their nonprofit is connected with, and click ‘invite (individual name) to discuss board service.’ This will allow them to use Catchafire’s messenger platform to send an invite about discussing board roles with the nonprofit.

If both parties working on a project or call have toggled the board service indicator on, the volunteer manager can then invite the volunteer to discuss board positions. If the volunteer says yes, they can have that conversation and we will follow up later through the messenger to confirm if the volunteer joined the board.

We have added resources to our help center to explain the Board Recruitment feature to prospective board members and nonprofits. We’ve also partnered with Board Source to provide access to their resources on how to find, manage, and vet board members.

For reporting purposes, Catchafire will track the number of invitations sent, connections made, and board members found through the Board Recruitment system.


What are the benefits of board recruitment?


Foundation benefits

Foundations now have a scalable and reliable resource to encourage their grantees to develop a board of directors, who should ultimately steer their grantee to a sustainable financial future.

High functioning boards can elevate nonprofits who are on the cusp of growth and independence. However, the process of finding the right board member can be difficult and time consuming, and it doesn’t always result in finding board members who are the right fit for the organization. By leveraging the connections organizations are already making through Catchafire projects, that process is streamlined and helps ensure that candidates have the skill set and passion needed to be successful board members who can move the organization forward.

With this new feature, nonprofits can establish and build stronger boards; successful boards are a surefire path to financially sound organizations who can become grant-ready. Boards have a significant and lasting impact on a nonprofit’s strategy, planning, and successful operation.


Corporate benefits

Board service is one of the highest impact ways to volunteer, and is ideal for corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs that want to provide opportunities for their employees that go beyond short-term volunteering.

Opportunities are inclusive, with board positions available and suitable for employees across a wide spectrum of career levels and areas. And, remote board positions offer more flexibility and opportunities for employees.

With Board Recruitment, employees can give back in a highly impactful way, while advancing their own leadership skills and professional development. Employees can curate their nonprofit board service based on their skills, interests in cause areas, and availability.


Nonprofit benefits

Rather than relying on their personal networks, nonprofits can source board members with Catchafire. Board members are critical to an organization’s long-term success and sustainability. With accountable, dedicated individuals who are committed to the mission and community, organizations can thrive.

Board members and committees serve as executive leaders that support nonprofits and their staff in key functional areas such as:

  • Financial management and operations
  • Fundraising, campaigns, and events
  • Human resources
  • Legal expertise
  • Marketing and communications
  • Program management
  • Strategic planning and mission alignment
  • Technology and data infrastructure

Board members come from a variety of professional and academic disciplines, contributing to the development and leadership of the organization. Nonprofits are also in need of diversifying their boards, seeking leaders who represent the communities they serve, and who can bring necessary expertise and diversity of opinions to the table.

Ninety one percent of nonprofits who took our survey indicated they need to diversify their boards. Board Recruitment provides them a direct pool of diverse talent from around the world that they can source board members from. In today’s remote work environment, nonprofits are also willing to take on remote board members, exposing them to an even wider range of talent and expertise; 75% of nonprofits who took our survey are open to remote board members.


From volunteer to board member

Evette was a long-time in-person volunteer at the Parks and Recreation department in her hometown of Phoenix. When she moved to San Diego for work, she couldn’t continue to volunteer in person where she had been volunteering.

She learned about Catchafire through a colleague at American Express (we have a partnership that fuels their employee volunteering), and in March of 2020, matched with a mindfulness/yoga organization based out of Philadelphia called InnerConnected (formerly Roots Tribe Yoga).

As a UX designer, she appreciated how seamless the experience was on the platform, and how easy it was to volunteer virtually. After her first project, Evette went on to match several times with InnerConnected.

Evette’s time volunteering with InnerConnected allowed her to build a deep and meaningful relationship with the organization. That relationship has grown even further over time - Evette recently joined InnerConnected’s board of directors as their board president!


Bring Catchafire to your community

Ready to bring Catchafire to your community or upgrade your existing program? Let's connect: email us to learn more about equipping nonprofits with responsive, high-quality operational support.


Share this page:
The pixel