Board Member Competencies and Selection

The "Board Member Competencies and Selection" study examined how competency-based board recruitment and selection practices support optimal board performance. The outcomes will help association executives and volunteer leaders understand how to anticipate, minimize, and resolve challenges in board selection to identify, cultivate, and secure competent and capable board members. Results from the research include practical tools to adapt these processes to unique organizations.

Full findings from the study can be found in Recruit the Right Board: Proven Processes for Selecting Critical Competencies . This book includes a full reporting of the research outcomes, insights on leading practices, recommendations for nominating procedures, and case studies from participating organizations, as well as tools those organizations use. A 28-page report summarizing the key findings of the study is also available.

Key Takeaways

Competency-based board selection is critical to board performance. Nominating committees should identify the competencies that the board as a whole should reflect and then evaluate the competencies of current board members to identify gaps, which recruitment and selection efforts can focus on filling. The research shows that associations defined competencies in various ways, but commonalities emerged.

Five General Leadership Skill Areas and Related Board Competencies

board competencies
Source: Board Member Competencies and Selection Study


The research distilled processes for board selection and nominations, elements of which associations can adapt for their distinct needs. Common steps explored in the findings include

  • selecting the nominating committee
  • defining needed competencies
  • creating a job description and issuing a call for nominations
  • screening and interviewing candidates
  • preparing the slate and selecting the board


additional publications and resources

Defining Board Competencies
Effective Board Performance Starts With the Right People