There are countless different ways to volunteer as part of a non-profit enterprise. Volunteers of all skill levels will always be needed. However, many people want to join these boards to effect change at a higher level. Whether it’s working for a specific social cause or as part of a university’s alumni association, this can be an enriching activity to pursue.
In these administrative positions, it is possible to see the results of one’s labor in the form of real, large-scale change. Positions on boards with large non-profits are often highly competitive, and it can be challenging to know where to begin.
Finding a Nonprofit Board
An excellent place to start is with personal networking. Often, these opportunities can be obtained through someone already in an individual’s network. There are also websites such as BoardStrong.org and idealist.org that serve as databases for people searching for positions with non-profit organizations.
What It Takes
Once a suitable non-profit board position has been found, it is essential to understand that it is necessary to demonstrate a passion for the cause in the first interview. Even though most of these board positions have only modest compensation, there will be many candidates who believe in the non-profit’s mission. They will be searching for someone who fills a need or niche. It will be vital for a potential candidate to provide evidence of time and effort that has been dedicated to the organization’s goal or cause in the past. Furthermore, like any interview, the candidate should hone in on their strengths and understand how to explain their relevance.
Besides knowing how to pitch oneself to potential future colleagues, it is also vital for people to understand what they are getting out of serving a non-profit in this way. Like any professional endeavor, it should galvanize the prospective board member’s strengths and create meaningful new opportunities. Another critical aspect to consider is how the organization itself functions in terms of its cause. Statistics regarding how the non-profit uses its money can be very telling.
Finally, it is essential to know what is expected from a board member. Informing oneself of the time commitments and emotional energy involved can go a long way to determining if the position is the right fit.