It might seem like a big commitment, but you can always volunteer to serve on a nonprofit board. The world needs people who are committed to making their community a better place and then actually acting on it. While there is often an image of nonprofit boards being restricted to the extremely wealthy, the reality is far from it. Nonprofit boards are nothing like corporate boards, and each one is different from the other. Organizations might hope for board members with capacity, but what’s more important than anything else is a passionate board member with connections and a broad sphere of influence. I recently came across an article that shared some of the reasons to join a nonprofit board, listed below:
You’ll learn patience: Smart and passionate people sitting around a conference room table can do a lot of things; they can argue, say stupid things and make brilliant observations, and wading through it will teach you patience.
You’ll learn how to ask for money: Asking people for help, or money, can be a difficult thing. Every person should know how to ask for money for a worthy cause. The author of the article compared it to trick-or-treaters who carried around orange UNICEF boxes; if you can ask for money for a worthy cause as an eight-year-old in a Bugs Bunny costume, as an accomplished adult you should absolutely be able to ask for money.
You’ll enrich your resume: Being on a board benefits you in more concrete ways, like this one, that can help with any potential job search.
You’ll meet interesting people: People who join boards are wonderful people, who have chosen a more hands-on approach than just being passive. Being in their company will be an enriching experience.
You’ll learn to play nicely: Being on a board is about diplomacy, making sure that your colleagues get their say. The best board members are teams, so understanding that and knowing how to act on it will benefit you and the board leaps and bounds.
You’ll better understand assets: You’ll be able to better read and understand financial statements and ask a related question that actually makes sense.
You’ll learn how to run an effective meeting: You might find yourself as a committee chair, and heading a group of people who don’t work for you requires a very different set of skills than in a staff meeting. These fellow board members, like you, are volunteers, who may have more business experience than you, so you can all learn from each other.
You’ll stimulate your mind: At its best, board service allows you to bring your full self to the organization, a rare thing to find in any field other than nonprofits.
You’ll learn to better appreciate the organization: The closer you are to the work of a nonprofit, the more it comes to life for you and the more passionate you’ll become.