by Neel Hajra, President & CEO
I often get questions from folks about how they can do more to help their community via nonprofits. Donate money? Sure. Do project-based volunteering? Yup. However, an often-overlooked way of making a HUGE impact is through board leadership. There are many reasons why a nonprofit needs a strong board, but let’s focus on why board membership would be good for you:
- UseYour Brain: Serving on a board is like loaning your brain to a nonprofit. Whatever your professional expertise and experience, there’s a nonprofit board that needs it! It’s a deeper, more meaningful way to serve your community.
- Rejuvenate Yourself: Better yet, you not only get to use your brain, you use it in an a totally different context than work or your other activities. You’ll be surprised just how fun it is to apply your experience outside of your normal routine. You know more than you think…
- Network: There is no better way to establish yourself within your community than through board service. Think about it: you get to work closely with a range of individuals who represent a wide variety of business and community interests. Over time, it’s a way to develop great new friends and professional contacts.
- Give More Than Money: We all benefit from the tireless efforts of nonprofits to make our world a better place. Donating just a few hours a month as a board member is a wonderful way to support nonprofits regardless of your ability to donate money.
- Develop Your Leadership Skills: Sometimes it can be tough to find leadership development opportunities in your work environment. The solution? Join a board! Board membership = leadership, plain and simple. You can develop your skills as a manager and decision-maker, which ultimately could help you in your professional career.
- Find Mentors or Mentoring Others: Are you early in your professional career and looking for some mentors? Find a board with the kind of folks whose experiences you value! Are you a grizzled vet? Join a board and leverage your experience to help out other trustees AND the staff of a nonprofit.
- Build Credibility: Think you might work at a nonprofit one day? Board membership is a great way to develop a real understanding of the sector, and build credibility in the eyes of nonprofit leaders. Hoping for a senior management position at your for-profit company? Well, many expect to see community leadership out of their potential leaders.
So HOW do you link up with a nonprofit board? I was hoping you would ask For those in the Ann Arbor area, NEW’s BoardConnect program will be hosting Spring into Service, a “speed networking” event where nonprofits seeking board members get to meet smart folks like you. Sign up and serve!!
PS – Detroiters, we’ve got you covered: we’ll do our second annual “Fall into Service” event this fall in Detroit!
Thanks to Zillafag for the brain picture!