Board Recruitment

This resource has been designed to help you find, recruit, induct and keep board members. It has been developed with sports organisations in mind. We recognise that board member recruitment is often a challenge for sports organisations – it is a challenge to attract people to do the non-sports related roles within the organisation. However, people are the sectors' greatest asset and board members have helped sport and recreation achieve so much already.

They help to set the strategy and provide the structure for your organisation and it is therefore vital that you find, recruit, induct and keep board members. What inspires them to join your organisation needs to be realistic:

John Broughton, board member for Volleyball England, "Lao Tzu once said, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. As a board member you get the opportunity to make that first step."

For the purposes of this resource, the phrase 'board member recruitment ', also refers to the recruitment of management committee members, board members, council members, executive committee members, non-executives, directors and or trustees.

They are often called different things depending on how your organisation is set up and have specific legal meanings. No matter what title your organisation gives them, this resource is intended to help you recruit new members of the governing body.

Throughout this resource, we refer to your governing document dictating the recruitment process for your board, e.g. your articles if you are a registered company.  In some cases you will be able to appoint board members. In others you may have elected board members through your membership or you may have representatives of regions that form your board.

This resource can be used by all types of boards – for example if you have a representative board – it is still a worthwhile exercise to do a skills audit and look at where development may be needed for existing board members. Making the resource work for you and your organisation is possible.

Why is board member recruitment so important?

Recruitment of board members is key to running a successful organisation:

“Organisation doesn't really accomplish anything. Plans don't accomplish anything, either. Theories of management don't much matter. Endeavors succeed or fail because of the people involved. Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds.” Colin Powell,  former US Secretary of State.

Board members are responsible for your organisation, without them your organisation would not be able to exist. But it’s more than that.
When problems arise in organisations they often stem from poor governance. Remember success starts in the way your organisation is governed and led. Having the right board is key to this success. Always remember that people are sport and recreation’s greatest asset and this resource is designed to help you recruit and keep those people within your organisation.

How this resource works

The resource is split into six sections. These sections can be used independently but work well as a whole process:

1. Are you ready to recruit?
2. Who are you looking for?
3. Attracting new board members
4. Selection and appointment of new board members
5. How to welcome your new board members
6. What next?

How to use this resource?

We recommend that you read through the whole resource before getting started. It is designed to be used and tailored to suit your needs and circumstances. We have included a range of activities and templates to provide practical help, these range from plans to model policy documents. These are easy to use and editable; you simply download and save them.

Not all of the activities may be necessary for your organisation, feel free to pick and choose the approach which best suits you.

Where you have an elected board you may want to adapt some of the activities to suit your needs – eg Activity 2 Skills and Experience Table could still be useful in helping you identify where to direct people’s nominations.

Help and Support

At the end of each section we signpost you to other help and support related to that topic specifically. These are from a variety of places including support that may not be specifically for sports organisations. We’ve chosen the most relevant resources to help you through the process.

As an on-line resource, we hope that the tool will evolve and develop over time. If you have any feedback, comments or would like to be a case study featured in this material please contact our Governance Team.

This resource and the examples contained within are given for information only and this process needs to be developed and adapted to suit your organisation's circumstances.

This should not be taken as legal advice in anyway; especially in relation to information regarding your governing document.


This resource has been created through a partnership between the Sport and Recreation Alliance and National Council for Voluntary Organisation (NCVO). It forms part of the work of the Leadership and Governance National Support Service funded by Capacitybuilders and led by NCVO.

We would also like to thank the people who reviewed the materials and provided case studies and examples. We would also like to thank the Charity Team at Russell-Cooke, solicitors, for their legal input and the Sport and Recreation Alliance Governance Stakeholder Group for their advice and support.