You’ve been asked by a nonprofit organization to join its Board of Directors. With that comes a tremendous level of responsibility that goes beyond just showing up for meetings and passing resolutions. It requires an understanding of what being a Board member entails: your duties, the organization’s expectations, your legal exposure, the role you’ll be expected to play, the time and money commitment, etc. It also requires some due diligence and soul searching on your part.
It is critical to determine if you are the right person for the job. You need to look in the mirror and ask yourself some difficult questions. Remember, the organization has certain expectations of you as a director and you need to recognize exactly what these expectations are in order to conclude whether or not you’re prepared to make the sacrifice. Outlined below are some important questions and key points to consider:
Are you passionate about the organization and the impact it has on society?
Having passion for the organization and its cause is perhaps the most vital trait that someone can bring to an organization. If you don’t have passion, you may find yourself reluctant to make the sacrifices or put in the time, energy, and effort to meet the organization’s expectations. We’re all busy. Many of us have work or family obligations that hinder our capacity to offer time and/or energy to a nonprofit — even one that we have a personal passion for. You need to find out what the time requirements are, then decide whether you can and want to realistically meet those expectations.
Can you effectively contribute to the Board?
Even if you have determined that you have a passion for the cause, that still may not be sufficient.