Now that we have discussed why serving on a charity board can help boost your career, you might have been encouraged to do so. So how do you start? First, you need to look for the right charity board. There are lots of charities out there, but would you actually know if it is the right one for you?
We’ve all heard about charity board blunders, which can be a nightmare because it can damage your reputation and means that the charity is left in a worse place. Another hurdle is that as a trustee, you might find yourself lacking the enthusiasm to fulfil your obligations because of several reasons. Before you head down and take the plunge, make sure that you ask yourself these three questions for finding and joining the right charity board.
How much do you actually care about the mission of the charity?
This is the first aspect that you should consider before joining a charity board. You should be passionate about its cause and mission. Charities are founded because people have strong beliefs that there is something worth creating awareness for or fighting for. There is no point in fighting for a cause that doesn’t hit home. You can fool other people by faking your true feelings towards the board’s cause, but eventually you will get tired and burned out because it is just something that you aren’t really into.
What is the make up of the board?
Why is this important? Can you imagine a non-profit organization declaring bankruptcy due to mismanagement? Would you be able to write this down on your CV when reports all over the news show that things fell apart during your service as a board member? Make sure that you do your research as to who else is behind the charity. You’re all in it together and the charity (and your reputations) depend on everyone doing the right thing. Do you belief that other team members have the capability to run a non-profit organization? What are their skills and abilities?
What can you offer the charity?
So you have done your research, found the non-profit that fits perfectly with your passion and know it is being run by credible individuals. What can you offer the charity? Will you be able to handle responsibilities and make a decision for the charity’s best interest? The role of a charity board member entails attending meetings, events and many other social gatherings. You will also need to offer skills and energy that could be beneficial and contribute to the charity’s success and growth. People who run charities or non-profit boards usually work as a team, which means that your contribution regardless how big or small, can make a difference.
Step up your game:
Start getting involved with a charity right away to get noticed for an eventual board membership. It might not happen immediately – especially in a larger charity organization – but you will be on the right path. Begin by taking an hour to research 3-5 charities in your community that you care about and contact them today. They might have an online form, or you can just shoot them a quick note telling them what your skills are and how much time you have to get involved.