By Barbara Lezcano
There are many reasons why someone may want to join a board.
Regardless of your why, here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Look at where you already donate your time, services, and/or money. These are likely causes where you already have an affinity, and may be good places to begin. If the answer to this question is nowhere, then start by finding nonprofits to give back to in some capacity. Consider joining a committee if your volunteer experience is limited. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.
Bottom line: Practice being charitable first.
2. Make a list of organizations you’d like to join; research the requirements of board service, as these are not to be taken lightly. The Board of Directors (BOD) of a nonprofit hold a fiduciary responsibility to steer the organization in the direction of sound, ethical governance, legal practices and financial management. They are not responsible for day-to-day decisions or operations, and many individuals are surprised to learn that the board can be held liable for a nonprofit’s financial responsibility. There is likely a time and financial contribution required of board members. Because the board helps ensure that resources are adequate, it may be important to consider how comfortable you are with fundraising.
Bottom line: Get comfy with the commitment.
3. When you’ve narrowed your list to 2-3 organizations, again consider your why. As mentioned, there are a plethora of reasons as to why board service is the right fit. Putting the mission first should be at or near the top, as board members are advocates for the organization.
Bottom line: What’s your why?
4. Apply, apply, apply! By that, I mean fill out an application, but do not despair if you aren’t accepted on the first go-round. That is more reason to deepen your involvement within the charity, the cause, the community. Your connectivity to resources that will support advancing the mission will ultimately make you a more involved – and well rounded – board member. It may also lead you to service on another board.
Bottom line: Deepen your connection to nonprofits and your community
Barbara Lezcano has served on the Board of Directors for Harbor House of Central Florida, and co-chaired the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Purple Door fundraisers. She was also the 2015-2016 Recruitment Chair for the Junior League of Greater Orlando. Lezcano also founded Sweet Babs, a local brand of all-purpose mojo sauces.