Social Engagement: High
What’s what: Serving on a volunteer board of directors can be personally and professionally rewarding and there are well over two million nonprofit organizations nationwide to choose from. Duties usually involve several meetings a year, regular email and phone exchanges, fundraising, event planning and sometimes making a donation to the cause.
Amava Take: Being on a board is a lot of work but when you find the right fit it’s also immensely rewarding and a lot of fun. Aside from working for the public good, you’ll make new connections and learn new skills. You’ll also have a say when it comes time for important decisions about the good of the organization, including the hiring of a new executive director, asset allocation and the nitty-gritty of policy.
From the Front Lines:
What kinds of candidates are you looking for to fill these positions?
You should enjoy collaborating with others, digging into policy and raising money.
Any tips for first-timers to make it a productive and fulfilling experience?
Ask a lot of questions about fundraising and donation expectations so there are no surprises.
What’s a typical schedule like?
Boards usually meet monthly or bi-monthly and communicate regularly. There will also be special meetings, fundraisers and other social engagements.
From the Trenches:
What’s the most satisfying part of the position?
When you’re passionate about the organization’s mission, the work is a pleasure.
How would you describe the hard parts?
No matter what kind of expertise you bring to the table, change comes slow and that can be frustrating.
Would you recommend this volunteer job to others?
It’s a great way to give back if you would rather work behind the scenes.
Special requirements: Every board is different and some are looking for a particular kind of expertise or stakeholder.
Finding a position: To start locating nonprofits, take a look at your alma mater, your local United Way Chapter, or regional associations of charities you like. Visit Guidestar to search for nonprofit organizations by location, mission area, or directly by name. The Guidestar database evaluates the mission and effectiveness of almost every nonprofit. Boardsource can give you a more in depth idea of what is legally expected of nonprofit board members and what the role entails. This article in Forbes outlines how to find the best board to join.