As any not for profit sector Board knows, be it charitable or educational, we are often so grateful that anyone wishes to participate and share the workload we are so quick to take them up on their offer that we do so without stopping to consider whether they are bringing value to the existing Board.
As discussed in the previous blog on “Skills Audit For Your Volunteer Board” you have been through a process to identify what the gaps in the Board’s skills are and now you need to ensure your recruitment fills those gaps.
Consider the recruitment process for a Board Volunteer:
• Advertising a vacancy – Where and how should you do this? Where can you target the best candidates?
The increase in online sites does afford new avenues to potentials targets – the School Governors Support Service has a list of volunteers looking for a school governor position and the Charity Commission also has a similar process.
• Application – What information are you intending to provide as a “job description”? What gaps has the skills audit identified? and How would you like applicants to meet these?
• Interview – Which Board members will meet applicants? What questions are you going to ask? Are they going to be invited to sit in on a meeting to get a feel for what’s involved? What training and support will they receive when in post?
• References – These should be requested as a matter of course however very often a reference is not asked for; as mentioned in the blog on “Skills Audit For Your Volunteer Board” you are often just grateful that anyone else is joining the team and sharing the workload.
Within a school setting Parent Governors or Trustees should have a place on the Board regardless of any OFSTED or government agenda for the Board to comprise Business professionals. A parent has a unique insight into what is happening in a school through the eyes of their child that no other Board member will have; but you do have to bear in mind that the Parent may have an agenda of their own in becoming a Governor. This is something the interview process should be able to tease out of applicants along with understanding what the existing relationship with the school is like.
Sadly an enthusiasm to give back to your community in whatever form (School Governor or Charity Trustee) is no longer sufficient; the increased scrutiny that School and Charity Governance is coming under requires that the process for recruiting a Board member is similar to that for a paid job – the only bonus is that there are no wrangles over salary.