3 Tips for Joining a Non-Profit Board

By Megan McQuade On June 14, 2018

Many professionals have interest in serving on a Board of Directors. Check out TruPath's top tips for joining a non-profit Board.

Joining a Non-Profit Board

3 Tips for Joining a Non-Profit Board

Uncover your "WHY"

Many professionals have interest in joining and serving on a Board of Directors at some point in their careers. If you find yourself in this boat, as yourself WHY? This is the first step to aligning interests and discovering fit.

Are you looking to improve or enhance skillsets by taking on a volunteer leadership role? Maybe you're looking to share your expertise with a larger audience. Perhaps, you're looking to contribute to mission or lead change management with vision. Are you looking to network with like-minded individuals to expand your client base or raise brand awareness? You may be looking to use a Board role as a stepping stone to a for-profit leadership position. Do you thoroughly enjoy giving your time to causes in need?

Hopefully these questions and thoughts help you reflect on and establish your "WHY." This will be one of your first Board interview questions - Why do you want to sit on "X" Board? It's not a trick question. Other Board members want to ensure that 1. you are a good fit for the organization & 2. they are able to help you accomplish your goal(s).

VOLUNTEER where your passion(s) lie

After your WHY is clear in your mind, it's time to begin volunteering if you aren't already. Most Boards review leadership and volunteer experience when reviewing nominations. Leadership and volunteer experience with that particular organization is a huge bonus! Many associations and organizations are routinely looking for volunteers. Unpaid volunteers make the non-profit world go around!

Volunteering to help plan an event or sitting on/chairing a committee are often stepping stones to Board seats. Not to mention, volunteering gives you a taste of how the non-profit is structured, operates, and what future needs might look like. After spending time with other volunteers and non-profit leaders, you can decide if an elevated support role is the right fit for you.

Volunteering your time in an area of passion is key. Board seats require time, attention, and sometimes personal monetary donation. If your passion is lacking. the affect rolls down from the top. And, if you are unwilling to spend the time needed to serve, you may inadvertently derail the mission and vision of the of association.

Express your INTEREST to your network

Make your Board interest known. It sounds simple, right? Often, volunteers are willing to step into leadership roles, but they fail to express their interest. Plant the seed of interest with your network.

Most professionals place significant value on their networks. And, many prefer referrals as opposed to the unknown. Use resources such as LinkedIn to make your interest known. Discuss it with your colleagues. Spend some extra time talking to members of your network who sit on Boards or have in the past. What were their experiences? What advice do they have to offer? And, do they have any referrals?

Many are familiar with the concept of six degrees of separation - two people can be connected by a maximum of six acquaintances. Once you have identified an association that fits your needs, explore their website and view the current Board members. There is a chance you may know one of them, have a friend that knows one of them, or can begin the process of figuring out how you may be connected - interests, education, previous employment history, etc.


Members of the TruPath leadership team sit on a variety of Boards throughout Greater Phoenix area. Community Partnership is one of TruPath's five TruPrinciples - TruPath team members are passionate about community involvement.

As a trusted recruitment source for more than 15 years, recruiters at TruPath have a customizable process that helps our partners feel comfortable in their search for a candidate. Contact TruPath today to tell us about your staffing needs.

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