How to Build An Advisory Council in 5 Steps

An advisory council can be a fundamental asset to your organization. Think of your advisory council as your “dream team” of mentors. That’s what they do. They mentor you and your organization through business, operations, financial management, and growth strategies, while also acting as your sounding board.

An advisory council requires less commitment and is more ambassadorial than a board. Building a council also allows you to vet potential board members and hook your target board members.

Advisors help your organization by lending time, knowledge, and advice that help further your mission. In doing so, they feel good about mentoring an organization in need of their expertise– especially an organization with an empowering mission.

How do you Build an Advisory Council?

Build a group of individuals who can help bring your organization to the next level.  Here’s how:

1. Identify your needs
  • Do you have specific problems advisors can help you solve? Do you just need a sounding board to ensure your organization is on the right track?
2. Create a member packet
  • You’ll want to give potential candidates more information about your advisory council and what will be expected of them if they do join. Do this by creating a member packet that explains your mission and how you see advisors as playing a role in helping the organization towards that mission.
  • Include an advisor agreement that lays out the terms and conditions of membership (as always, feel free to reach out to us for help).
3. Brainstorm candidates
  • Research the notable players in your target market
  • Identify potential board members
  • Leverage your network
4. Recruit
  • Meet with potential advisors and explain to them how the organization could benefit from their valuable insights.
  • Plan an “advisory retreat” to bring all potential council members together to update, inspire, and rally them toward your cause. They will also be inspired by the networking possibilities that come with serving on an advisory council with other like-minded and impressive individuals.
  • Ask them to join your advisory council, and if they’re unsure, send them home with your member packet. In doing so, you’ve provided them with the transparency they need to make an adequate decision in a professional manner.
5. Think long term
  • An advisory council is a great recruiting strategy for building your dream board.
  • Advisors can often become board members. Once they’ve become acquainted with your organization—and are also inspired by your mission—they are truly honored when you ask them to become a board member.
  • Read more on building your dream board here.

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