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1.This document is FCS 9095, one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Florida Cooperative Ext ension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences University of Florida. Publication da te: May 2003. First published: August 1998. Reviewed: May 2003. Please visit the EDIS Web site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sc iences is an equal opportunity/a ffirmative action employer authorized to provide resea rch, educational information and other services only to indi viduals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age, hand icap, or national origin. For information on obtaining other extens ion publications, contact your county Cooperative Ex tension Service office. Florida Cooperative Extension Service / Institute of Food and Agricu ltural Sciences / University of Florida / Christine Taylor Waddill, Dean 2.Written by Beverlyn Lundy Allen, former assistant professor, Human Re source Development and reviewed by Elizabeth B. Bolton, professor, Leadership Development and Adult Education, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute o f Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611. FCS9095Recruiting Minorities for Community Boards1Beverlyn Lundy Allen2IntroductionThe task for recruiting minorities for your advisory board is both difficult and delicate. However, with a sincere and well developed recruitment plan, your organization can be successful ensuring that your board achieves the level of diversity desired. This is the second article in the series on diversifying your local board. This article assumes that you have read and followed the suggestions presented in Identifying Minorities for Community Boards. Once minority individuals have been identified, you are ready to recruit minorities to your board. The following steps are important: 1) develop a recruitment plan; 2) communicate your commitment to diversity; and 3) cast a broad net. Developing a plan for recruiting minority board members will raise some very important questions. These questions are basic to just about any recruitment effort. And your answers to these questions will be the building blocks for your own recruitment plan. Questions to consider are: Why do you want or need minority members? How many minority members do you need? What kind of minority members do you need? Who is going to find and get minority members? Where are the minority members? When is a good time to look for minority members? How should you approach potential minority board members? Most of the time organizers looking for minority membership would have had better luck recruiting potential members if they had sat down
Recruiting Minorities for Community Boards Page 2 May 2003A planned effort will almost always be superior to an unplanned, disorganized attempt. Set short term goals, intermediate goals and long term goals. A successful recruitment effort requires time. Call for assistance. and actually thought about the why, what, how and when of diversifying the local board. It is very important to think about what it is going to take to achieve recruitment goals, rather than just jumping in.Minority Recruitment PlanThe recruitment plan for your board should be one that is bold and yet realistic. The plan must be bold in the sense that it has to go beyond the usual efforts and activities of your board. Lets face it. There are reasons that your board currently may have no minorities on it. To recruit minorities, your board must do something different from what it is presently doing!! Your organization has to bring fresh thinking to the recruitment process. For example, your group might consider periodically holding board meetings at locations within minority communities. Then, invite minority community leaders to your meetings. This will allow minority leaders to get to know more about your organization and vice versa. Once again, this is one of many strategies that your organization can implement as part of your recruitment plan.Setting GoalsSet short-term, intermediate and long-term goals in your recruitment plan. Make sure that everyone in your organization understands that you are in this for the long haul. Remember to develop your plan for recruiting minority members before you actually start doing the work. You dont want to spend an awful lot of time switching from tactic to tactic trying to achieve your goals without much luck. Make sure your search for new members is organized. Setting Time LinesThe realistic aspect of the plan involves giving yourself sufficient time to achieve your goals. Set a time table to which your organization is willing to commit. Of course, the specific time will depend upon the point at which your organization is starting. If your members have few or no contacts in minority communities, then it would be best to give yourself at least a year to have minorities on your board. In any case, making sure that your plan is realistic will prevent your group from being frustrated because the results are not happening quickly enough.
Recruiting Minorities for Community Boards Page 3 May 2003 Communicate your commitment to diversity. Thinking Through the Process of Recruiting Minorities for Your Board Phase I Phase IIPhase IIIPhase IV Set up a committee or task force to develop a minority recruitment. plan Define clearly what resources are necessary to implement the plan. Have an expert review your plan to assure racial and ethnic sensitivity. Communicate your plan to the minority community. Set realistic goals about the number of minority members to be recruited and develop a time line. What is the true commitment from the organization? Define this in terms of people resources and financial resources. Identify resources in community to support your efforts. Meet with representatives of minority organizations. Identify strategies to meet the recruitment goals. Who will be responsible for carrying out the strategies? Continue looking for support. The more the merrier!! Collaborate on special ways to obtain a commitment from potential minority members.Be Culturally SensitiveFinally, bring in an outside expert to evaluate your recruitment plan. Usually these persons can be found in county Cooperative Extension offices. Other organizations in your local area can provide assistance to your group. Be certain that this is an individual who has experience or expertise in the area of race/ethnic relations and/or diversity. This individual will be in the position to make further suggestions to enhance your recruitment plan. Most importantly, the person can ensure that your plan is culturally sensitive to minorities.Open the Lines of CommunicationsOnce your recruitment plan is developed, create opportunities to communicate it to members of the various minority communities. Once again, the best way to do so is to contact community leaders. In conjunction with the leaders, develop programs where the plan can be introduced to community members. Or, work with the leaders to be included in ongoing community events. For instance, many minority communities have special recognition programs for its members especially for children. Agree to be one of the sponsors of such an event and make a brief presentation on your recruitment plan. In communicating your recruitment plan, you are essentially doing two things: 1) overcoming the problems of the past; and 2) breaking down the barriers of distrust. In short, you must establish goodwill in the
Recruiting Minorities for Community Boards Page 4 May 2003Cast a broad net. community. Remember, there is a big difference between words and actions. Dont be surprised if minority community members take a wait and see approach to your recruitment plan. It is your responsibility to follow through. It will take time to get minorities to jump on your band wagon.Keep an Open MindThe successful recruitment of minorities for your board will require that you broaden your ideas and ideals about board membership. Minorities are less likely than majority individuals to hold prestigious positions in mainstream society. And, as stated in the first article of this series, those minorities that do hold such positions are often over committed. In short, your group should not limit itself to minorities who fit the mainstream definition of success. Many of your best prospects will come from average minority citizens. Many of these persons may not have college degrees. Some may not have much formal education at all. Many will be older or younger than the typical majority board member. But, by putting aside preconceptions, and with patience, your board will be able to develop a pool of prospects. Once again, the best means of developing lists of prospects is to consult with leaders in the minority communities. Then, hold special meetings or receptions for prospects in their communities. At that meeting, you explain the nature of your organization. Also discuss the benefits and the responsibilities of board membership. Finally, you invite minority prospects to join your board. If your organization has carefully gone through the suggested steps of this process, then you should be able to recruit minority persons for your board.ConclusionRecruiting minority members for your board is a process that is not easy. A lot of thought and hard work must be invested by your organization to be successful. This article has presented the basic ideas for a recruitment plan. It should be noted that many organizations may be tempted to use short-cuts. Often times shortcuts to the process outlined here may work in the short term. But, in so doing, organizations risk the chance of losing minority recruits equally as fast. A detailed and measured approach is recommended as the best means of achieving long-term success.ReferencesCommunity Tool Box, http://ctb.lsi.ukans.edu Chapter 5, Section 1: Developing a Plan for Recruiting Members, contributed by Rob Kramer, Edited by Bill Berkowitz and Jerry Schultz. Homan, M. (1994). Promoting community change: Making it happen in the real world. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company.