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Do you Want to Sit on a Nonprofit Board?

If yes, then click on through to BoardNet.
http://www.boardnetusa.org/public/home.asp

If you need a little more WHY:

Why would you want to sit on a nonprofit board?

Because you believe in the mission. But also, it’s a good way to move on up in your nonprofit career. Have you ever known an executive director who previously sat on your nonprofit board? This seems to happen quite a lot. Two nonprofits I’ve worked for had this happen. You can probably name a few, yourself.

What does sitting on a board entail?

It entails making sure your executive director is not stealing money with the nonprofit credit card. And then, if they are caught, it entails firing them.

Oh, no, they didn’t do it by accident. Because if they tell you that, and you let them stay, THEY WILL DO IT AGAIN, and STEAL EVEN MORE.
But seriously though.

I am being serious. That just happened to a nonprofit I used to work for.

As a board member, you are fiscally responsible for the nonprofit organization. So, if it goes belly up and can’t pay its bills, YOU are left holding the bag. So, don’t take this lightly. Also, you should learn how to fundraise and teach your fellow board members how to do it, so that you don’t have to worry about this happening.

What if I don’t want to fundraise?
Everyone can do something. Maybe you can stuff envelopes. Call people to say thank you for giving a gift. Research grants. Advocate for more funds at the government level. I have a comprehensive checklist and quiz that goes into detail about how you can help your board members fundraise here.

What else?

You need to give to this nonprofit, so that you can convince other people you know to give. That will be more convincing. Also, it should be in the bylaws that you need to give.

Ugh, really?

Yeah. But if you don’t believe in the mission, then why are you on the board anyway?

What about the board meetings?

Those are going to be once a month, probably. 2 hours of your time. Take this time to get to know staff better. Let them know you’re there to help. Ask what you can do. Be realistic about what you can accomplish with a certain timeframe. If a board report is not making sense to you, ask to have it explained. Your other board members will secretly thank you.

Committees?

Yes, you’ll probably be asked to sit on a committee too. There’s the marketing/communications committee, the fundraising/gala committee, the executive committee, the website committee, the strategic planning committee, the finance committee, etc. One thing I’ve learned from sitting on nonprofit boards is that if I do fundraising for my job all day, I’m kind of burnt out on doing it for other people for free after I get off work. So even if you’re an accountant, maybe you don’t want to do it for free for this nonprofit. Say so up front, if so. However, this does lead to people who aren’t terribly skilled in the committee focus being on this committee. Nobody said being on a board was easy. But it can help you be seen in more leadership roles, create the right relationships to get you that development director or executive director position. Click the link at the top of this post to see what board positions are available at nonprofits near you.

If you like this post, check out
“Are You Pressuring Your Board?” by Alexandra Peters

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