Growing your organization or board can sometimes seem daunting. Rather than delve into the theoretical quagmire of how to promote your organization and recruit more people, instead, get real about why YOU and others are already in your organization. This will lead you to discover the attractors that are unique and authentic to your group, providing a pathway to find people who will also find the work meaningful and rewarding.
In my work as a consultant and with non-profit boards over the past 15 years, I've discovered that organizations that are attracting talent can honestly say:
We're having a good time.
There's food, there's drinks, there's time that we spend together or activities we do together that are just for fun and connection. We truly enjoy each other's company.
We make it easy for you to know us.
It's easy to find us online on many platforms, easy to understand who we are and what we're about in less than a minute, and easy to get in touch with us (which you are eager to do given how attractive our user interface is).
We make it easy to participate.
We structure our organization and communication systems in response to the real-world logistics of our existing and potential members/staff.
We understand that everyone's time is valuable.
Our meetings have clearly communicated agendas beforehand; efficient, compassionate facilitation during, and specific follow-ups afterwards. We're clear about roles and responsibilities.
We know how to choose opportunities meaningfully.
We are clear about what we're doing and why. We only choose projects and opportunities that are a fit for us, that have an appropriate scope for our resources, and that we know matter.
We want you to join us because of who you are, not because we need more warm bodies.
We look through our contacts and talk to people we already know who can connect us, and that leads us to the people who are specifically aligned with our passions and goals. We do our homework about your work or experience before we talk with you. We don't waste time on blanket communication or mass promotion that's all about us and that we think will speak to the "right" people.
We also look beyond our own backyard.
We know that stretching out of our comfort zone leads us to wonderful new connections. We attend new events and connect with new groups with the aim of learning, evolving, and relating to our work within a broader context. In doing this, we also just happen to meet people who are a great fit to join us.
We're interested in learning from you.
We ask questions more than we talk about ourselves. We truly value what you have to say regardless of your relationship with our organization and whether or not you work for us. We take the time to listen and get to know you.
We value a diverse range of perspectives.
While we might all have shared goals, we recognize that everyone has a unique background and insights to share. Through the training we've done in diversity, equity, and inclusion, we know how to create space for everyone's voice at every level of our organization, systemically and personally.
We appreciate you.
We put expressions of appreciation in every communication and recognize the value of gratitude as a context for the work we do together. That's why you've stayed, grown, and contributed to our organization over so many years.