As the club industry, technology and society evolve, so must club boards. According to Tom Wallace of Kopplin, Kuebler and Wallace, the next generation of board members will be more sophisticated, knowledgeable and have different expectations than board members of the past. It’s the reason why he urges clubs to follow these best practices for finding high-quality board members: identify specific traits board members should have and require committee service as a prerequisite to board service. If a member doesn’t have the necessary traits or isn’t successful on a committee, he or she likely won’t be successful as a board member, Wallace said.

“It was once a common practice for club boards to have one engineer, one lawyer, one accountant, etc. Today, worrying about actual professions is less important than seeking out people who are good leaders, effective communicators, fair and objective thinkers, engaged members who use the majority of club facilities frequently and who are good stewards of the club (those who are there for the right reasons),” Wallace wrote in a recent issue of Club Trends, a publication of the National Club Association and The McMahon Group.

Cultivating younger board members, diversifying demographics and looking for varying perspectives need to be priorities for clubs. Wallace believes that in order to provide a compelling member experience, clubs must have members with different viewpoints, backgrounds and experiences serving on the board and participating in the decision making processes.

It is also important to ensure the board is an appropriate representation of the membership. New members are often overlooked for board or committee service because they are thought to be too “inexperienced” or lacking in club knowledge. But Wallace believes new members can be outstanding candidates for service. “Few clubs actually seek new members to serve on boards, but new members may have great ideas, fresh outlooks and not be limited by the way things have been done in the past,” he explained. “They also have clear and specific reasons why they joined the club. This insight and perspective can prove beneficial in decision-making.”

In addition, creating a positive board experience is essential for attracting the next generation of board members. Wallace says 90-minute board meetings; purposeful, clear and consistent communication; a detailed board orientation; and ongoing board education are all key components to ensuring the board experience is effective and successful. “Actively working to make the board experience rewarding, enlightening and fun is essential,” he concluded.

Private Club Advisor – June 2022