You will make a difference.: Nonprofit organizations exist to address a social need or issue, and board members play an important role in guiding the organization’s mission and impact.
You will grow new leadership skills. There are invaluable skills you’ll acquire serving on a board. Serving on a nonprofit board can help you develop your skills in strategic planning, team management, and decision-making. You will have the opportunity to work with other board members and staff to develop and implement strategies that support the nonprofit’s mission and goals.
You will gain increased visibility and credibility. Serving on a nonprofit board can raise a person’s profile in the community and increase their visibility and credibility. By lending their expertise and skills to a nonprofit organization, business people can demonstrate their commitment to social responsibility and give back to the community.
You will learn how to build a business. Nonprofits have management, marketing, public relations/communications, financial, strategic planning, tech, human resources and governance issues. Diving into any of these areas – understanding the concerns and making decisions that will impact a nonprofit – offers you a chance to have a very different role than you may have in your professional life. It’s a chance to develop new capabilities and grow a business.
You will meet interesting people who will add to your sphere of influence. People who join boards are a wonderful breed. They have chosen to get off the bench and onto the field. You will be enriched by being in their company. Serving on a nonprofit board can provide business people with opportunities to meet and network with other community leaders, potential clients, and partners.
You will learn how to ask for money. You did it when you were eight years old carrying that orange UNICEF box but the skill might have lain dormant since. I believe every grownup should know how to ask for money for a worthy cause. I’ll take it one step further. I’d argue that until you ask for money for a worthy cause, you have not reached “grownup” status.
You will learn to read financial statements. You will be able to read and understand financial statements and ask a related question or two that actually makes sense.
You will learn how to run an effective meeting of people who don’t work for you. Perhaps you will find yourself as a committee chair. Trust me, you learn a very different set of skills. These fellow board members are volunteers, not paid employees, and they may have more business experience than you do.
You will stretch all your intellectual and emotional muscles. Board service at its best allows you to bring your full self to the organization – your emotional connection to the work, your commitment to the overall sector, your life experience, your skills, and the good head you have on your shoulders. There are precious few tables you will sit at that will need all of what you bring the way a nonprofit does.
You will fall more in love with your organization. The closer you are to the work of your nonprofit, the more that work comes to life for you, the more passionate you will become.