“The squeaky wheel always gets their way on the board.”
“Why do our board members leave their brains at the door?”
“None of our board members participate in our fundraisers.”
“We can’t make quorum.”
Any of these sound familiar? In Canada, more than 170,000 organizations make up our Nonprofit Sector. That means that more than 170,000 organizations have boards that direct them and help bring their missions to fruition. That’s a whole lot of volunteers who choose to steer a nonprofit organization. These people take time away from their families, jobs, hobbies, and social lives to sit on boards. Are they all effective? What motivates people to sit on boards? How can board members be more effective?
Board members carry significant weight for nonprofit organizations. While there are different levels of participation in the organization, with some boards being very hands-on and others being the rudders that steer the proverbial ship, all boards have the same baseline responsibilities. Boards have fiduciary and ethical responsibilities to the organization, funders, volunteers, and the people they serve.
Being a board member in the Nonprofit Sector is not for the faint of heart. Oftentimes board members serve as the primary volunteers for organizations, recruiting other volunteers and donations from family, colleagues, and friends. The ‘job’ of being a nonprofit board member is sometimes thankless.
So why do people become nonprofit board members? Good question. And while answers may range from being an enthusiastic supporter of the cause to building fodder for their resume, there are some key reasons I think people should consider before being on a nonprofit board:
Of course there are many less altruistic reasons to be on a nonprofit board; however, in my opinion, if your heart isn’t in it, you won’t be either.
I’ve created a Board Member Self-Assessment tool for people considering being on a board as well as current nonprofit board members. This tool is a series of questions that will encourage you to have a better understanding of why you want to be on a nonprofit board and what you can offer. The Board Member Self-Assessment tool gives you a moment to step back and really consider the responsibility and opportunity. It’s designed to be a thinking tool for YOU and no one else. Click here to get your copy.
….blog by Beth Harding