Recruiting Younger Board Members

by Les Wallace, Ph.D.

Making a real commitment to this effort makes all the difference

In a recent CUES seminar for credit union board members, at least half of the Credit Unions represented had a membership goal in their strategic plan to target younger members.This same group also had a strategic goal to recruit younger board members—generally targeted as 40 years old or younger. As perspective on the aging of boards, the graphic below summarizes the 2012 data from BoardSource and the Filene Research Institute about board membership in the nonprofit/CU arena.

As you can see, bringing down average board age is a challenge across all non-profit governance, not simply with credit unions.

Targeting younger people for your board is generally not a controversial topic in the CU movement. Whenever I bring it up in my seminars, most everyone agrees it would be a good idea. “But,” they say, “it’s so difficult to find the talent needed and the commitment to serve.” I certainly understand the challenge. However, I find boards that make a serious commitment to go find younger potential board members make it happen. Yes, there are 30-somethings well qualified to serve on boards—I know; I just helped recruit two to an international board I’m on.

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