Why I Serve – The Rewards and Challenges of Service to the Nonprofit Board of Directors – YubaNet
November 21, 2021 – At the age of twenty-four, I discovered Breast Cancer Action, a national health justice organization based in San Francisco. My mom was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and BCAction helped me overcome the fear and directed me to their invaluable resources. A year later, I was ready to give back and became the youngest member of their board, not knowing exactly what it entailed.
Since then, I have served on four nonprofit boards of directors and am currently chair of the board of directors of Community Beyond Violence (CBV), the leading local agency dedicated to supporting people affected by interpersonal violence and sexual assault.
What I learned
I joined BCAction, CBV and others because I cared about the issues, but stayed on the board because of the meaning it gives to my life.
A role on the board is different from just volunteering or working for an organization. It’s limited in time (for me, a few hours a month) but continuous, so I have the opportunity to get to know the organization in depth and over the years. As a board member, I am invited to provide strategic advice and contribute to the vision, but I have the honor of watching the committed staff lead the work. Importantly, upon joining a board of directors, I found myself in conversation with a wide range of people who share my passion for social issues. Whether with staff, other board members or the public, these connections enrich my life and hopefully make me a more effective and compassionate part of our community.
Do not mistake yourself. There are times when onboard service is overkill. I have a full time job and young children and need to be realistic about what I can and cannot do. There are also administrative and operational aspects, such as developing agendas and revising policies, which are not the exciting strategic moments that I enjoy the most. For example, boards of directors have a fiduciary responsibility, which means they take the time to review budgets and provide financial oversight. (In this area, we have a number of local resources, including NLCs, working to equip board members with the skills they need.) Finally, many tips include a fundraising requirement. , although this is often more frightening in theory than in reality. At CBV I make a small monthly donation and invited friends to sponsor our activities or support a family while on vacation. To my surprise, this awareness was rewarding and is often encountered: “I wanted to get involved – I just didn’t know where to start”.
Our community needs you. Local organizations described the invaluable contributions of their boards:
“The Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees worked actively throughout the pandemic to ensure that programs and activities continue successfully and that philanthropy could meet the most important needs of the hospital. “
“[Citizens for Choice] could not exist without our volunteer board members. All of us, members of our working committee, take on the range of responsibilities that must be fulfilled for a successful nonprofit organization, from management and finance, communications, and funding to development and community relations.
“The Hospice Board of Directors and Board of Directors are members of the local community who are dedicated to achieving the mission, articulating the vision and ensuring that decisions are aligned with values. fundamentals of the organization. “
If this sounds meaningful to you, I hope you will consider providing this much needed advice and support to an organization in our community. The opportunity is there. Join us.
– Kelléa Miller, PhD
View a list of CNL members to start finding the cause you care about.
To share how you’ve been touched by philanthropy, as a donor, volunteer, or recipient of services, email [email protected], and you may be featured in a future article.
This series of articles is provided by the Center for Nonprofit Leadership – itself a 501c3 nonprofit. CNL strengthens the non-profit community to realize its full potential. We are a resource center for organizations and individuals. Staff and boards of nonprofit organizations, through workshops and networks, are empowered to fulfill their missions and become stronger and more effective. To learn more, visit cnlsierra.org
Read all articles from the CNL series
Faces of CNL Philanthropy – Volunteering: The Philanthropy of You
The faces of CNL philanthropy: the backbone and flexibility of non-profit organizations
The Faces of CNL Philanthropy: Growing Up and Taking Action
Faces of CNL Philanthropy: Partners For Good
Faces of CNL Philanthropy: Raising the Tide of Philanthropy
Faces of Nevada County Philanthropy