The role of selecting and recommending new board members usually falls to the nominating committee of the board. Even in policy-governance structured organizations with few or no committees, a nominating committee often exists. Some boards have replaced a nominating committee with a governance committee. In both situations, the work focuses on identifying gaps and recruiting skilled individuals.
Nominating committees should work throughout the year, not just as board vacancies and Annual General Meetings approach. The committee is responsible for identifying potential candidates to fill vacancies and any gaps identified. Ideally, more candidates are recruited than there are positions available so that an election, rather than acclamation, occurs. In this instance it's important that candidates are aware of the nominating and election process and that just because they have been recruited doesn't mean they will automatically be elected or appointed to the board.
The nominating committee usually prepares a slate of candidates that is presented to members at an Annual General Meeting for voting. Members cast their votes for the candidate(s) of their choice, and the board is formed. This process is always the responsibility of the membership, the board and the nominating committee although staff may be asked to play a supporting role. To view a sample of an organization's nominating committee terms of reference see the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network director's manual.
The nominating and election process can sometimes be an awkward one for non-profit organizations, especially if no one is experienced or familiar with the procedures. Herb Perry's Call to Order: Meeting Rules and Procedures for Non-Profit Organizations (www.bigbaypublishing.ca) provides a reader-friendly overview of election rules and voting methods.
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