How To Attract Enthusiastic, Motivated Board Members


When it comes to recruiting new staff, there are no shortage of resources available online to assist in the process for both candidate and company alike. There are software packages and interview processes that promise improved ways to fit an employment position to an applicant. Applicants document their skills in resumes and online software and blast these out to the job-hunting world.

But when it comes to recruiting for a credit union’s board of directors, there’s little by the way of a “job board’ or “head-hunting” or any job placement events. So how can credit unions establish a method to attract motivated, skilled and enthusiastic board applicants?

River Valley Credit Union in Ada, Michigan, found one way. The $100 million credit union created an Associate Board Member position, allowing anyone interested in serving on the board of directors an opportunity to attend board meetings, participate in the discussions and basically be a board member without voting privileges.

How do you find interested people? First, establish a policy that describes the associate board member responsibilities and determine how many can serve in that position. Then advertise the position with your members! You’d be surprised at how many individuals want to serve, but didn’t know how to get started.

CEO Janelle Franke said: “The associate board member position gives the individual an opportunity to evaluate the fit, in terms of serving on a board. It also lets them familiarize themselves with board meeting discussions, reports, and procedures. It also provides current board members the opportunity to build a working relationship with these individuals. If it’s a good match, you have a pool of those that are willing to serve as full board members when the need arises.”

And as a board member of River Valley, it’s been satisfying to see the program bear fruit. The most recently named Chairman of the Board started out as an Associate Board Member before being elected by his peers.

“Starting as an associate board member provided the knowledge I needed to be a voting board member,” said Kurt Hansen, the newly elected Chairperson. “It’s great to get to vote at the board meetings, and I take the responsibility seriously as there are jobs at stake. And more importantly, we hold the money of our members and must also keep their data secure.”

“The associate program has been a true asset to our credit union, and I strongly encourage all credit unions to consider implementing their own like program,” concluded Hansen.

And if you’re a member and your credit union doesn’t offer an associate board member position, call them anyway! Let them know you’re interested in becoming a future board member. Often the biggest obstacle credit unions face is just identifying the individuals with a passion to serve. There is no better way to show that you care about being a credit union owner!


  • Barb Cooper

    As Programming Services Manager, Barb engages with programming teams to improve project workflow, provide training, manage the marketing side of programming, and coordinate team relations with those outside the programming department. Barb also provides programming research for client serving staff, improves programming department documentation, is involved in the efforts to improve the CU*BASE database, and attends focus groups and client sessions to represent the programming department. Throw in a little programming as well.

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