How to Invite Potential Board Members

Dear Kim,

Is there a format of a letter that you could share with me to solicit members to be on the board of directors for my organization? Should I also ask for a resume?
—Wanting to do it Right

Dear Wanting,

Generally, a letter inviting someone to be a board is very simple. It says, “We’d like to invite you to join our board,” or, “We invite you to apply to be on our board.” The letter provides a short summary of roles and responsibilities and tells the person you are writing to why you want them, in particular, on the board. “We believe your skills in marketing and media will be most useful. ” It doesn’t matter that much what the letter says because the make or break element of getting board members is saying in the letter, “I would like to discuss this further and will call you in the next few days. I look forward to speaking with you.” Asking for a resume implies that people apply to be on your board and then are accepted or not. If that is the case, then you should ask for a resume along with any other information that will be useful in considering the application. However, if you have already decided to invite this person, then wait to get their resume until they have accepted the position. You can then get the resume and circulate it to the other board members or use it in a press release if you announce new board members to the paper.

The most important thing about putting together a board is not in your question, but I will comment anyway. Know what you want from your board members and make that very clear. Make sure all the board members know their legal roles and responsibilities and are that they care deeply about your cause. Good luck.
—Kim