Do you know what the most asked question I get when facilitating nonprofit strategic planning sessions? It is, “ How can recruit and retain good board members?” The need is great and you should thoughtfully consider giving your time, talent and treasures to the nonprofit of your choice. Not only will the social impact be great, (which is definitely the most important reason to volunteer), but a by-product of your volunteerism could be that you can learn new skills and build your network that could enhance your own personal development. Don’t worry if you have never served on a board before, people are willing to help you.
The first step is choosing a nonprofit that you are passionate about. Eckhart-Queenan, a partner with the Bridgespan Group, recommends to ask yourself the following questions before deciding:
Is the work of the organization interesting to me?
Could I imagine making the organization one of my leading philanthropies, in terms of the time, energy and other personal resources I’m willing to devote to it?
How willing would I be to introduce others to the work of the organization?
Also consider attending a special event or try to volunteer with an organization to gain better knowledge of the board, staff and culture of the nonprofit. It can help you better explore your passion for its work.
Another suggestion is to attend a Forefront training on Board Training 101 on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 from 4-6 pm at Roy Schmidt Honda, 1705 W. Fayette Avenue in Effingham, Illinois. I will prepare you to take on the challenge of effectively serving on a board. We will discuss finding the board that fits your interest, rules, roles and expectations of board members, communications with the executive director and what fiduciary responsibility entails.
On a personal note, Central Illinois lost one of its greatest volunteer, board member and philanthropist extraordinaire with the passing of Dick Lumpkin. He valued giving back to the community and supported so many nonprofits in the region that he will be sorely missed. These are great shoes that need to be filled, so consider doing your part.
Jeanne Dau, MBA, CEDFP, is the President of Dau Consulting. For the past 20 years, she has coached hundreds of organizations on strategic planning, business development, sales, marketing, customer service, leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship. She has started and managed four successful businesses and has also directed business outreach departments for two universities. Jeanne is certified in many training programs and has been involved in the tourism industry and entrepreneurship education.