Your board search activities will benefit from you taking a multi-faceted approach to finding a board opportunity. Part of your multi-faceted approach may include board registers. Board registers are databases that contain the information and profiles of individuals who are interested in joining a board connected to the register’s particular focus (e.g. government boards, not-for-profit boards, women on boards, etc.).
I keep a regularly updated list of recommended board registries here.
However, this article focuses on how best to incorporate board registers into your broader board search activities.
Focus your entry
Select a board register that aligns with your board goals. For example, if you have a goal of joining a not-for-profit board, add your details to a NFP board register (like CBB’s BoardMatch)
Then, as you are completing your profile, include information that’s a little more explicit on the type of board / organisation you are looking to join. For example, in the NFP board register, you may include information in your profile that states you are interested in joining an education focused NFP, or animal welfare focused NFP.
This approach enables you to be specific with your profile and highlight the things that your goal board/organisation will be looking for, rather than taking a broad shotgun approach where you’re trying to appeal to everyone on everything. It also ensures that the opportunities coming to you are of interest to you and you’re not wasting time on fielding enquiries from organisations and boards you’re not aligned with.
Keep it fresh
Once you set up your profile, continue to keep it up to date. Many of the registers enable you to set up an account that gives you future access to your profile so that you can update it as things change. For example, you may do a course, gain a qualification, or build your board experience. These are all things that are likely to be valuable updates to your profile. Of course, if your contact details change, make sure you update those too.
One piece in the puzzle
Board registers are not intended to be the silver-bullet to finding a board seat. As I’ve mentioned, it helps if they are part of your broader board search activities. Things like networking, reaching out to organisations directly, and building and expanding your personal brand are activities that you should continue even after your details are included on a board register.
Board registers are handy tools to use as part of your board search strategy, particularly if there is a strong alignment with the board(s) you want to join and who/what the register is set up for.
I highly encourage you to take a look at this list of board registers, and do some Googling for others (there are many!) to find one that suits you.