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?
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.