The following is an excerpt from “Confessions of an Introvert - The Shy Girl’s Guide to Business Success” by Meghan Wier. Preorders of Confessions of an Introvert will be taken starting in September 2005. For more information, write to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Very rarely will you find a highly successful business person who is not – or has not been on a charity Board. Why? Board membership shows an individual’s character. It shows commitment to a greater good, a desire to affect positive change and strong dedication to community. These are “success qualities”
Every year Board seats are left unfilled, because organizations can’t find qualified and dedicated people to be Board members! Furthermore, charities are very often seeking to reflect the community, and diversify their boards. This creates opportunities where there weren’t opportunities for membership before. “Up and coming” professionals are now highly sought after by Boards, and this could be your ticket! As a “rising star” and an expert in your field you are a great candidate for Board membership.
So, if you find an charity that you believe in, if you understand and live the mission, if you have been involved in the charity for some time, and in some meaningful way, and you haven’t already been asked to be on the Board, make a subtle inquiry with the Board President or Executive Director, and see what is involved in applying for a board position.
You may find that they are very interested! Or you might have to plant a seed, and work towards a seat over the course of time.
Each organization will require a different level of involvement, but in almost all cases, a “leadership donation” is a requirement. It may be said or unsaid, but be prepared to get out that pocketbook! The good news here is that if you are on the Board because you believe in the mission of the organization (and you should!) then a check in a “personally significant amount” to an organization should not be a difficult decision. It will after all, go to a “good cause”.
Another thing to remember, as a Board Member you have the responsibility to ensure that that charity is following its mission and is accountable to the donors and the community. Boards will usually meet monthly or quarterly and there will be committee meetings, which you will be expected to chair and participate in. There may be legal ramifications as well, so be sure to understand completely what your responsibilities and expectations.
Being on a board is a big responsibility; however it is one with numerous rewards. So, check out the organizations in your community and get involved!