by Dr. Cindy Briggs
As we have been discussing networking (to help your business, to get a job, or just to get connected) one topic I have mentioned several times is joining a nonprofit board of directors. This may sound overwhelming to you, but it really can be a wonderful experience.
Let’s start with some very basic information, just in case you are not familiar with what it means to be a nonprofit.
A nonprofit organization is a tax-designation. So often individuals think that nonprofits cannot make a profit, but that is not true. It only means they have to put those profits back into the organization. They don’t pay stockholders like a for-profit is able to do.
A nonprofit organization is registered with the IRS as a 501 (c) corporation. Many of the nonprofits that may come to mind are 501 (c) 3 registered organizations. There are over 20 different classifications in the 501 (c) code. If you are really interested, you can find more on that here: IRS INFORMATION.
I won’t get into the deep details, but if you want to learn more in the specifics– I will be launching a nonprofit course in July 2022.
When a nonprofit organization is formed, it by law must have a chairperson, secretary and treasurer. They can run the organization with just those three people, but most nonprofits want to have a much more robust board. They want to have enough people to give expertise and to help with committees. In a typical nonprofit board, you will see 15-19 people.
I am not an expert
You may think you need some specific expertise to serve on a board, and while that is helpful, it is not always a requirement. I know there are some professions that are great to have on a board: legal, financial, Human Resources. However, I know when I have recruited board members I also want them to have a passion for the organization. I want them to have a vision of the future and how the organization can be successful.
Where do I begin?
Ok– so you are ready to investigate this path into nonprofit board membership, but you are unsure where to even begin. Let me help you with that.
- Determine your passion (i.e. animals, medical issue, children, education etc.).
- Research organizations that meet those passions. For example, maybe you are interested in animals. You can search for local humane societies, rescue organizations, and national organizations. Review their websites. Look at their current board of directors list, see what the organization has to offer.
- Call and talk to someone about volunteering. It is great if you can start as a volunteer for the organization in some other way than the board– but that isn’t always necessary. You can reach out to the volunteer coordinator, or executive director.
- Develop a board member profile (see my freebie below on helping you develop this) and share it with the organization.
- Learn more about being a board member. I have a podcast on this topic. You can also research places online like BoardSource.
Listen to this week’s podcast on this topic:
Dr. Cindy Briggs is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, college professor, wife and mom. Her mission is to provide programs that can help entrepreneurs and communities thrive. To find out more, visit www.cindybriggsphd.com.