Letter from Jim re: Board Drive

March 11, 2014

Our board drive starts today and will last for 50 days through April 30.

Why we’re doing it:
As an organization, we are promoting substantive engagement between the public and private sectors. Our engagement model is different – we ask each side to come to the table in a non-traditional way. No lobbying from us and no fundraising from the public sector. This is very simple. But it’s different and it’s the best way we know to engender more trust between the two sides, something that is in very short supply today.

With this is mind, we believe in the core organizing principle of “Strength in numbers.” Increasing the number of individuals in the private sector who “raise their hands” to effectively come to the table in service is powerful.

Quality over Quantity:
We are not growing simply for the sake of growing. The reason we have been effective to date is because of the quality of people we bring to the table from the private sector. And as we grow, that quality needs to be maintained. When you think about whom to approach, always keep this in mind.

How to do it:
While it’s definitely not rocket science, recruiting new board members isn’t easy. And it’s not the most fun aspect of any organization. No one really likes to hear PBS or NPR conduct their annual drives, but there is an understanding that it is vital to their success.

Think back to your joining the Convening Board; basically without exception, none of you joined the first time you were approached. It takes time and is a process. And, similar to just about everything else, there are more no’s than yes’s. Don’t be discouraged by this. Ultimately, it is a good thing because it helps ensure we find the quality we are looking for.

Steps to take:

  1. Put aside 15 to 30 minutes over the next week to search through your network and identify a list of quality individuals you think might enjoy being involved with T4A.
  2. Use your personal experience: spend roughly the same amount of time thinking about your experience with T4A and develop 3–5 main points to get across. Note: while it’s my opinion that coming up with your own points works best, you can use the team as a resource to help develop if you want.
  3. Make first connection: this can be via email, phone, or whenever you have occasion to see anyone on your list.
  4. Invite to an upcoming TTable or, even better, set up a meeting (I am happy to attend any meeting you set up if you feel it would be helpful).
  5. Follow up: check in with the individual post-TTable or meeting and then provide feedback to us (both positive and negative). The goal for us as an organization is to always improve, so we need all feedback.
  6. Work together: talk to other Board members to provide a second or third reference point for any individual. Validation is key.
  7. Don’t get discouraged: as mentioned earlier, there will be more no’s than yes’s. But if you don’t ask, the answer is always NO.


GOAL: Each Board Member secures two new Board Members by the end of the 50-day drive.

If we are successful in this endeavor, we will more than likely have created the largest community of entrepreneurs/private citizens in two major markets (SF Bay Area and Seattle) who are willing to learn, provide value to policy makers and thought leaders, give back, and serve.

We will follow up with each of you personally in the next week. Thank you very much.