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  1. Ali Edelstein on

    Thanks for the great blog, Dan! I’ve been looking for a way to get involved on a Board simply because I enjoy brainstorming and consulting, but my young age, lack of information about how to receive an invitation to serve on one, and previous experience with remote team work are all reasons giving me pause.

    How do you generally go about seeking a board position? Does age matter? How do you motivate remote team members who sign up to help then don’t do any work? I’d love to hear your best tips for digital communication, collaboration, and project management.

    PS- One of our recently returned Fulbright Belgium grantees wrote about his I-House experience here: http://www.fulbright.be/2013/a-fulbrighters-rewarding-experience-living-at-ihouse-nyc-and-other-adventures/

    • Ali,

      Thanks for your kind words.

      It’s funny that you ask about more of the nuts and bolts of getting onto a nonprofit board, as I am actually working on a follow-up post to cover that in more detail, which I hope will go up in the second half of the month.

      I would say that you should not let age deter you from nonprofit board service. I never thought that I would be on a board before I turned 30! If you are passionate about an organization’s mission and are willing to take on the duties of board service, then you should definitely consider it. When it comes to working on teams remotely (whether a board, for work or just about anything else), I think the most important things are to set clear expectations at the beginning — with a similarly clear understanding of the consequences for not participating at the necessary level — and to engage all team members in enforcing those expectations throughout your work together.

      And special thanks for sharing that Fulbright post! We’re always happy to know that residents really enjoy their I-House experience.

    • Ali & Dan:
      I love this article! I’m a young NP professional and also serve on a Board of Directors and it’s been very helpful in increasing my skills and visibility in the NP community.
      Ali, I think the best way to find a board position is to find a few NPs you are interested in and begin volunteering with them. Contact the ED and see if you can talk to them about your strengths and were you can contribute. Just be sure to take on the “I want to help you” tone and not the “You need me to help you!” tone.

      I’d love to hear Dan’s tips for digital communication and collaboration as well. I think that’s something we all can improve upon.

  2. I am so enthused to see this post – especially as an Executive Director of a nonprofit organization! A great first step when reaching out to an organization that you are passionate about it to connect with the Executive Director. Email is great introductory way to connect, and can allow the ED to share your resume with her Board executive, make sure you attach your resume! There is a responsibility for diversity on boards and many organizations have a mandate to engage younger members and it is critical to engage less experienced directors and create those mentoring relationships on their boards in order to increase their organizational sustainability. I have shared this article all over the social medias! A great case for being involved!

    • Dana,

      Have any of your board members come to your organization this way? I’m always interested to hear how organizations bring in new board members.

      Thanks for sharing the article with your networks.

  3. I currently serve on my church’s council and am on leave from the board of a Christian summer camp (because I started working for camp temporarily). Joining these boards occurred within 2 years of my college graduation. I’m the youngest member that these boards have ever had and I believe having a connection with someone involved with the board or the nominating committee was the main reason for receiving my invitations.
    Serving on boards have already helped me make connections to others in my community. I’m also learning how organizations function. Lastly, serving on boards is helping me to find my voice and helping me to develop skills as a leader. I believe that being a board member is providing me with an immeasurable amount of experience to carry into my professional life.

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  6. Dan,
    This and your corresponding post, “3 Steps to Take if You Want to Join a Non-Profit Board,” are outstanding. When I relocated from Columbus to Cleveland, OH, I went from being a member of the Assoc. of Fundraising Professionals communications committee, to joining AFP Cleveland’s board as VP of Communications.

    Whether you’re networking in a new city or just growing your network, board service is a great way to go. The development of project and team management skills you mentioned will follow. I moved from establishing our organization’s social media presence to overseeing a team of young professionals that are now running our Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.

    • Pamela,

      Thanks so much for your kind words about the posts. As a native Clevelander and an active member of AFP, I am very pleased to hear how the Association has allowed you to find like-minded people and build your skills in my dear old hometown.

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