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I frequently hear nonprofit board members express their frustration about their inability to attract new and maybe even different kinds of prospects to become board members. True, they may not actually have a recruitment plan and they don't have a governance committee whose job it might be to think very intentionally about what needs the board has and where individuals might be identified and wooed to joing and they may not even have opportunities for prospective board members to lend their skills and acquire an interest in being a board member (like working on a task force or volunteering) but all of these "lacks" doesn't mean the frustration isn't real.

Businesses apparently have their own challenges in recruiting new and younger talent (and I think "talent" is a good word to describe what nonprofit boards might be looking for) that's. A September 2, 2104 Wall Street Journal article indicated that some businesses are using charitable programs as recruitment tools. With millenials (1980-1995) as the target, the Journal states:

CFOs are finding that giving away money, time and products to charitable causes is a good way to attract young talent. Charitable programs, they say, can help lure job candidates away from high-tech startups with potentially lucrative stock options, and other socially minded entrepreneurs. At the same time, millennial workers and social media are forcing companies to rethink how and what they donate.

The shift in millennial thinking accelerated during the financial crisis. Companies fired thousands of workers and did meager college recruiting, which pushed many graduates to become entrepreneurs. Though the economy has recovered, that trend hasn’t reversed, according to Fiona Murray, associate dean at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Innovation Initiative.

“It challenges employers. When they recruit they have to have a very different message for our students,” Ms. Murray said.“We now see the world’s problems up close. There is a sense of impatience and a sense that we have a lot of tools at our disposal—not just software, but also hardware and access to funding through crowdfunding. They will build their own organization or work for an operation that is impacting the world.

Philanthropy is important to many nonmillennials too. Carolynne Borders, 43, said her desire to help underserved communities was “a big factor” in her decision almost two years ago to join Henry Schein Inc., a health-care and dental products and services company, which donates $10 million a year in cash, products and services.

The takeaway? Nonprofit boards that truly seek to attract "new and different" individuals to their boards to help ensure mission is accomplished, should first be clear about exactly what its needs are and equally important, utilize the basic marketing principle: know what your prospect wants and needs and offer that to them. Additionally, as this article suggests but does not specify, board service could well be the opportunity where corporate employees can gain experience, make a contribution of their time and energy and knowledge, and link a business closer to that nonprofit: win, win, win.

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