As the year begins to wind down, one of the topics that we frequently consider is how we want to make a difference in the next twelve months. While it is common to make a resolution to lose 10 pounds or increase our savings for retirement or finally get the garage in order, what about how you can make a difference in the lives of others?
One of the greatest contributions an individual can make is volunteering to serve on the board of a nonprofit or community organization. According to Jerold Panas, Linzy and Partners, over 30 million men and women in the U.S. serve on a nonprofit board every year offering a wide variety of support and resources, including strategic counsel and expertise to organization leadership, fundraising support, and even hand’s on support in the execution of certain, key activities such as preparation for an annual gala.
While serving an organization that helps support and uplift the community is reward in and of itself, board members are also uniquely positioned to gain additional benefit from their commitment of time and expertise. Board members get the opportunity to expand their network and make new professional contacts in a positive environment while exploring new skills and expanding their experience in specific areas.
But for all the positive aspects of serving on a board, there are some serious factors that should be considered before you sign on to a term. If you are interested in investing in a nonprofit organization, these are the questions you should consider:
- What is the time investment expected? In some cases, boards may meet once a month for a few hours to discuss key issues while other organizations look to their board to be deeply involved in the day-to-day activity of the organization.
- Is there a financial commitment required? Boards are an invaluable resource for an organization regarding fundraising. Some nonprofits set a broad goal for overall fundraising for the year while others expect each board member to personally raise a specific amount.
- Do I feel a personal connection to this organization? Board members often serve several years and become intimately involved with the operations of an organization. While this can be done for any group, the most effective board members are deeply effected by the mission of the nonprofit and feel a passion for advancing their mission.
Whether you are signing on to a board or raising your hand to volunteer just a few hours, giving your time and expertise can be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll have in 2019. We strongly encourage everyone to find a way to lend their time to support and uplift the groups that help our communities flourish and thrive.