Getting Good Help Recruiting (and Keeping) New Board Members

Attracting new members to join your board of directors may be a daunting task. As current board members, you know that occasionally you need new members to keep the business of your co-op running smoothly—but people are often reluctant to join a group they may not really know much about. Even more challenging, they might be convinced that serving on the board will be too difficult, too time-consuming, or will make them the targets of potential lawsuits if there’s a problem in the building.

So how do you go about getting people to think about joining you on the board of directors? What makes a person want to serve on the board? And what do you do if a certain board member doesn’t end up working out?

Come Aboard

The process of finding new people to join your board might involve talking to people before they’ve even unpacked their boxes on move-in day. As a board president or current member, you can introduce yourself on the first day they move into their new co-op and tell them about what it’s like to live in your building. As you get to know them through conversation, their application and their preliminary interview, take note of their background, their occupation and their interests. Would this person make a good addition to your board?  

“Remind them from day one that this is their co-op,” says Albert F. Pennisi, an attorney with Pennisi Daniels Norelli in Queens and president of the Federation of New York Housing Cooperatives and Condominiums (FNYHC). “Serving on the board of directors for your building will only enhance and protect your investment.”

Perhaps the best sources for new board members, however, are the committees that are already formed. These might include committees that handle such tasks as admissions, maintenance, finance, building and grounds, management or capital improvement.

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5 Comments

  • I am a long-time Cooperator subscriber and have found its information and resources very useful both as a co-op shareholder and Board Member. After running for the Board unsuccessfully several times, I was appointed to our Co-op Board mid-term 2007 when several elected Board Members resigned during the second quarter of their terms. As has been the practice in our building, the remainning Board Members went down the list of recent candidates by number of votes received to appoint new members to fill the vacancies. The position of Secretary was vacant and I immediately volunteered and served with distinction. Our Board serves staggered two-year terms and, seven months later I was nominated and voted as President, while having another year remaining in my term. I am about to run for the Board again and this year there will be four vacancies on our 7-person Board. The Treasurer, who has served for two years in that position, is also going to run again. Having served exceptionally well together, he suggested that we could strenghten our incumbent roles by running together as a slate. NEither of us have any experience or actual knowledge of how best to go about this. What advice do you have? Many thanks.
  • I would like to know if you run for president of the board or get voted on by the board members if you live in a home sub division in Fl. Thank You
  • I am currently serving on our co-op's Board of Directors. This year, after taking a year off of serving on the Board, I got the third highest number of votes of our 7 member Board. Most of the Board has been cold and unfriendly towards me even though I served previously for 4 years and accomplished very good, money saving projects for the building. I don't brag about what I've done for the building and I'm considerate and careful not to step on toes, but it hasn't helped. Any suggestions? I don't want to quit because of all the good people who voted me in.
  • the person serving as president have done so for 11 yrs and work isnt being done we dont have meeting and we dont have enough board memebers to vote her out and she is charging tenants as she like. I have been in this building for over 30 yrs and I feel as if things are not right. I know the building is in debt for 43,000 and uhab is not offering any solution.
  • I live in a small - 15-unit - self-managed building, and our problem is that we have a few units who haven't served on the board for years. We're now looking into ways to require board service. Has anyone dealt with this issue? Figured out a system that both requires service but doesn't dissallow someone who wants to serve consecutive terms?