When I vote, I'm going to be looking at four criteria. Here they are.
Experience - Has the candidate had experience working in the non-profit space? Has the candidate had board experience? Does the candidate have educational background that supports the board's needs? Does the candidate have work experience that supports the board's needs?
Community Interaction - Has the candidate been involved in the community through Camps, Cons, presenting, code contributions, and other kinds of participation?
EDIT: Criteria 1 and 2 for me are both important, neither one is more important than the other.
Technology Background - How long has the candidate been involved with technologies that support Drupal? How long has the candidate worked in Open Source? How long has the candidate worked with Drupal itself? This doesn't necessarily mean coding - it means how long have they spent time in the space in their own discipline.
ALL THESE BEING EQUAL
Diversity - Does this person have specific attributes, by way of diversity, that we would like to target?
I want to be clear here. Our number one goal on the board must be good governance. The board has a fiduciary responsibility to lead the organization effectively. This is a legal responsibility and should not be taken lightly.
There are three legal responsibilities for boards of nonprofits in the U.S. - the specific statutes vary a little from State to State. Still this gives you an idea of the nature of the beast.
1) Duty of Care - this is expressed as "care than an ordinarily prudent person would exercise in a like position and under similar circumstances." This means that the person needs to have general understanding of the business and exercise care as a steward of the organization.
2) Duty of Loyalty - "a board member must give undivided allegiance when making decisions affecting the organization." You can't use the information you have as a board member for personal gain. You have to have the best interest of the organization in mind always.
3) Duty of Obedience - A board member must always be obedient to the organization's mission. The basic idea here is that the board member will manage funds to fulfill the organization's mission.
If you don't or can't follow the duties, you are no longer protected by Board Insurance and become personally legally responsible for actions you take on the board.
I'm not saying that diversity isn't important. In fact, I think it should be one of the goals of the board to recruit board members from diverse backgrounds to fulfill the mission. What I am saying is that good governance must be the primary function of the board.
Personally, I am committed to recruiting board members who are nationally and genderly (is that a word?) diverse.