I’ve helped a lot of people find their first Not-For-Profit board appointment. Everyone comes to it for slightly different reasons, but over the years I’ve seen a few themes appear. It’s vital that you understand why you are interested in a board position as it can impact the type of appointment that you apply for.
There are four main motivators I’ve seen – two are more personally driven and the other two are more professionally driven.
Here are two personal reasons for joining a board;
It’s all about the Cause
Life is about what we give – right!? What causes do you want to give to?
Some people are passionately connected with a cause or causes. It’s ALL about the cause for them. They know exactly the type of organisation they want to give back to because it’s driven by the cause. It may have affected them personally or affected someone close to them. They may be connected to the cause in their line of work and are keen to give back to a Not-For-Profit organisation too. What are the issues that impact you personally or you are fired up about when you see them in the media?
What causes are you personally connected to?
Some people are looking to be connected to a board because it gives them energy in some way. It could be because of the events and activities involved, the cause and who it supports or the people that are engaged with the organisation. Consider what gives you energy such as starting a new organisation or turning around an organisation that’s lost it’s way. Perhaps it could be an innovative organisation or perhaps you love fundraising.
What energises and motivates you?
Ok, so there are the personal reasons why people join boards.
Here are two professional reasons for joining a board:
Some people are keen to learn as much as they can from a board position. They are keen to put their leadership skills into practice and learn from the opportunity of being on a board. Being on a board can be a huge learning curve about strategy, governance and finances.
You can also learn a lot about yourself in the board room such as meeting behaviours, persuasion, team dynamics and more. You can also learn about the cause of the organisation (for example, mental health, aged care or the environment), the Not-For-Profit sector and community development.
What are you keen to learn more about?
Networking and Relationships
Some people are keen to develop their networks, to meet new people and develop deep relationships. On a board you can develop a whole new network of people from your fellow board directors, to the management and staff, to the stakeholders of the organisation.
Who do you want to meet?