To transform the flow of knowledgeable and diverse leaders onto nonprofit boards by identifying and guiding new leaders into board service and fostering a more efficient process for boards to fill their leadership needs.
With support from the , the , and the , the Volunteer Consulting Group conducted a survey in 1990 to investigate the shortage of board members at nonprofit organizations. VCG, an organization with more than thirty years of experience in the development and strengthening of nonprofits, began working on the problem by starting a New York-based matchmaking service in the 1990s to connect nonprofits with potential board candidates. It launched the expanded BoardnetUSA online service in January 2001. BoardnetUSA continues to be primarily managed and coordinated by VCG with assistance from additional philanthropic and corporate supporters.
Nonprofit organizations have struggled for years to find qualified board members with the time and drive to commit to their missions. The BoardnetUSA service is an innovative solution to the problem and assists organizations in finding the right candidates in an effective way. To begin the search, nonprofits simply register on the site with their federal tax ID and ruling year and then fill out a questionnaire to describe their organization and pinpoint what qualities they are seeking in new board members.
The service is also an interactive experience for individuals hoping to serve worthy organizations. The site's My Profile section allows candidates to highlight their education, work history, and experience in the nonprofit sector and provide information about their interests, skills and expertise, and service interests. The Find a Board part of the site allows them to identify the nonprofits with matching interests that are seeking board members. Finally, the My Boards section helps candidates manage the entire board-seeking process.
The BoardnetUSA site is designed to be a common technological platform for communities and nonprofits working at the local level to enhance nonprofit board governance. BoardnetUSA's network of Community Partners — a group of nonprofit resource centers, volunteer groups, leadership programs, management support organizations, and community foundations — can use the site to research, communicate, and promote interaction among candidates and nonprofit boards. In addition to VCG in New York, BoardnetUSA has added community partners in six cities: Ann Arbor, Michigan; Atlanta, Georgia; Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Francisco, California; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a growing network, BoardnetUSA invites interested organizations across the nation to become community partners.
In addition to the online matchmaking service, the BoardnetUSA site provides a resource center with extensive information about the nonprofit sector and serving on boards. Nonprofits can use the site to access information and services that can help them analyze their board needs and prepare for and court desirable candidates.
BoardnetUSA is supported by a collaboration of philanthropic, corporate, and nonprofit partners. Their contributions include not only financial support but also technical, advisory, and probono services.