Being an active board member of a nonprofit you believe in is incredibly rewarding. If you want to become a board member but aren’t sure exactly how to go about it, follow this guide that will help you pinpoint the best nonprofit for you and where you can do the most good.
It’s no surprise that serving as a board member will help boost your resume, but it’s important to remember that this is a significant time commitment and one that shouldn’t be made lightly.
Determine your interests
The first step is to think about what kind of non profit organization you’re interested in and what causes you believe in. Whether you’re concerned about the environment, our homeless citizens, veterans, or hungry children, there’s an organization that you can make a difference in. Next you need to decide if you want to be involved on a smaller-scaled non-profit that’s based in your area, or if you want to aim for a larger, national organization.
If you’re already volunteering at an organization you care about, it’s a good idea to talk to other board members about your interest in joining as a board member. Have as many conversations as you can with those who serve on the board so you have a pretty good idea of what will be expected of you. It’s important to note that serving on a board and volunteering are entirely different experiences.
Once you find the organization you’re interested in, check it out. If you aren’t already involved in this non-profit through volunteering, take the time to speak to board members and representatives about the mission.
Know what’s expected
It’s important to know what’s expected of you when you are a board member. If you start the process of working as a board member without the understanding of what exactly is expected of you, you may soon find that it’s too much of a time commitment for your schedule.
Understand what they’re looking for
They may want someone that has years of experience in the industry they serve in or they might want someone younger that can give the rest of the board new ideas and fresh eyes on the problems facing the nonprofit. It’s always worthwhile to know people within your community that can become donors to the organization, so work on your networking.
Before you say yes
If the nonprofit organization extends an offer to have you serve on their board, make sure you know specifics about their meetings and what’s required of you before accepting. It’s good to be aware of when the board meetings are, where they are located, and how much time you’re going to need to spend to hold this position. Be sure to ask if there’s any type of training so you get accustomed to serving on the board and if the meetings are formal or informal.
Serving as a board member for any nonprofit organization is a big deal and should not be taken lightly, make sure you research and know what you’re getting into before you jump into this new role.