How to Attract Potential Board Members by Letter Invitation

Two businessmen are discussing a letter in their hands.
Two businessmen are discussing a letter in their hands. (Image: Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images)

Corporations are required to have a board of directors. Members of the board review the performance of the CEO and approve strategic decisions and budgets. Promising candidates for the board are typically scouted by the corporation and asked to apply for an opening position. A letter of invitation initiates the process by providing relevant facts about the company and why the candidate might make a good board member.

Company Facts and Stats

To attract the best possible candidates for a board position, a letter of invitation should touch on what makes your corporation particularly appealing to join. Online certification company Brainmeasures suggests providing a brief summary of your business, such as "We bring creative e-commerce solutions to small businesses." Add further details about a competitive advantage you hold over rival corporations, what makes your corporation a leader in its industry, what you have done to grow your market share, and how you expect to maintain financial growth in the future.

Board Member Duties

A potential candidate might have many responsibilities to juggle, or numerous other offers by companies asking her to join their board. Let prospects know what would be expected of them in your invitation letter. State when the board meets, such as the first Tuesday of the month and on special occasions as new circumstances arise. Specify whether the board member would have to join a committee. If so, detail on a separate sheet the duties of the various committees. Jian, a business software company, designates a section in its invitation letter for participation requirements as well as a provision that board members make a "tangible, measurable and profitable contribution."

Candidate Qualifications and Suitability

A prospective board candidate will want to know how he was chosen to be considered and how well he is qualified in your eyes. Here, a little flattery could go a long way. For example, you might say in your invitation letter that his name came up through a trusted source, and that you believe he has the qualities you are looking for. Next, list specific qualities he has that would be especially prized as a board member. For example, you might say, "We are looking for board members with personal integrity and a 'big picture' outlook. Your professional work record suggests that you have these qualities and would be an asset to our organization."

Compensation and Benefits

Not every invitation to join a board will include compensation details. But if wooing a desirable candidate is of particular interest to your company, you might want to offer an attractive remuneration package and state those figures in the letter. Jian suggests including stock option plans, and any provisos on how options will be handled in the event of acquisitions and public offerings. These perks should not be at the forefront of the discussion. Rather, they should be couched in the context of what you hope the candidate will bring to the firm, such as sound judgment, a fresh injection of ideas and strong leadership.

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