In one of our sessions, a coaching client shared how she wanted to expand her career to include contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion in her organization. She is a young woman, a mother of two, and a shining star in her company. The focus on racial disparities and the need for social justice in 2020, especially in corporations, solidified this goal for her life.
Within a month, one of my LinkedIn contacts shared a nonprofit’s post calling for board member candidates. The timing was divine. I knew the board position would be the perfect outlet for my client. The organization serves the community she wanted to champion with her employer. I sent her the post, and the current board approved her membership within the month.
Unfortunately, most people only consider a board of directors from the view of for-profit companies. They read news articles about a board increasing an executive’s pay or, in some instances, ousting a CEO for misconduct or when they do not meet the financial goals for shareholders. In this light, many folks never give much thought to being on a board; however, it is essential for those who value service to others and volunteer for nonprofit organizations.
I know this firsthand. Currently, I sit on the board for the Conservation Corps of Long Beach (CCLB). A member of The Corps Network, CCLB offers young adults job training and paid work experience, educational opportunities, and opportunities in corpsmember development. I love to help young people succeed, which makes CCLB an ideal organization for me. I can say the same for the Vancouver Multicultural Society, where I held my first board member position after a friend nominated me. Board positions are not regulated to those with old money, trust funds, or holding executive roles in organizations like many may believe. My first board position taught me board members are committed to the organization’s mission and values.
Finding available board positions is easier than you may think. The best place to start is at any organization where you currently donate your time and funds.
You can also search LinkedIn. I found my client’s board opportunity through a colleague’s post, but the LinkedIn Jobs search may include board positions at any given time during the year. Other sites to search include:
- Foundation List
- The Chronicle of Philanthropy
- Work for Good
A board member role will allow you to
- Leverage your experience and skills
- Support an organization that aligns with your values
- Increase your networking opportunities
Ultimately, a board position will offer you the chance to volunteer and serve at the highest level. You are on a team that helps guide the organization’s mission, goals, and strategic plan. Your contributions are integral to where the organization is now and where it can be in the future.