Have you ever thought about joining a board of directors for an organization that you are interested in serving? I recently was invited to join the board of directors for a local non-profit organization. It was flattering to be invited. Of course, I jumped at this opportunity to be of service.
My wife has always been involved in community and church service. Slowly, her good nature has rubbed off on me. Over the past few years, I have volunteered to help the clients at the local chapter of The ARC to prepare for job interviews. It is such a rewarding experience. When I finish with a lesion, I feel that I receive back more in gratitude than they receive in development.
By joining this board, I see it as an opportunity to give back more to the community. The board that I joined is for The Mature Workers Program that is part of the National Council on Aging. It was a good fit for me since I work in HR for a not-for-profit healthcare organization.
There are many benefits to joining a board of directors:
Joining a board of directors is a smart move for your career. It looks great on your LinkedIn profile. It shows that you are service orientated. By being on a board of directors, it reflects that you are a well-respected individual by people of influence. It shows that you see the big picture. When a potential employer sees that you volunteer as an advisor, they interrupt it as that you want to contribute to something that is bigger than yourself. Those are all great characteristics that might not normally stand out on a standard chronological resume.
People of Influence
Many boards attract people of influence. It is common for boards to be made up of lawyers, executives, community leaders, business owners, and other financially independent people who are passionate about an organization or cause. It is an opportunity to meet and interact with these folks. It is a chance to partner with them and work to improve the organization that you now help to oversee. It is a networking opportunity that is not readily available to everyone. By closely interacting with these individuals, there is the potential to develop close relationships with them because you share a common bond. Work to foster those relationships. You never know how or when those connections can be helpful in the future.
Do you care about the area where you live, an organization, or a cause? By joining a board of directors, you are able to have input. Today, everyone has an opinion, but by being on a board of directors, you have an option that matters. It is an opportunity to become a community leader and to develop an abundance mindset. Even if it is on a small level, it is still a trusted role. It is a position where people care what you have to say. Everyone might not agree with you, but you still have a voice and a vote when it comes to the management of the organization that you serve. It is truly a position of respect.
Being on a board of directors will help to develop you into a leader. You will have to review and approve of budgets. You will have input when it comes to shaping policy. You will be presented with the goals of the organization and how management is working to reach these goals. As the member of a board of directors, you are responsible to lead and to present input that shapes the best practices of the organization. Your negotiation skills will be sharpened. You will learn true team building skills as you work with other board members to shape the future direction of the organization.
How to Join
In most cases, you must be invited or elected to join a board of directors. There are organizations, however, that are looking for people to join. First, do research on organizations that you are interested in. Try to identify organizations that have a mission, vision, and values that you feel strongly about. Do some deeper digging and find out if you have any connections to the organization. Use LinkedIn to identify possible connections. Share your interest in the organization and look for ways to volunteer. After you learn if the organization is a fit, make a formal request to join the board or to be nominated if the selection is based on an election.
The organization that I am now on the board of directors for wants to increase the number of clients that they serve. They have an adequate marketing budget. They run television ads, radio ads, and attend most community events where people over the age of 55 might attend.
At my first meeting, I suggested that they allocate some of the marketing money towards social media and brought up the idea of creating a blog. The suggestion went over well. It is going to be added as a topic for debate and to be voted upon at a future board meeting.
I have truly enjoyed my short experience serving as a board member. It feels good to be able to give back. It has been a privilege to volunteer my time. I am looking forward to future board meetings and for the opportunity to be of service.
Have you ever served on a board of directors?
If yes, please share your experience.
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