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What it Takes to Be a Nonprofit Board Member

You’ve volunteered your time, and you’ve donated yearly. Despite your heavy involvement in the organization, you’re ready for something more. You’ve dipped your toes into the nonprofit world, but now it’s time to full-on swim. Before jumping in, you understandably want to know what’s in the water. We’re talking, of course, about joining a nonprofit board of directors.

Joining a board of directors is the logical next step to increasing your involvement with an organization. However, many don’t know exactly what that means or what it takes to be a part of a board. Together, let’s explore what goes into serving a nonprofit and sitting on their board of directors to see if it could be the right fit for you.

 

What Is a Nonprofit Board?

Every 501(c)3 organization is required to have a board of directors. That board helps to govern and oversee the operations of the organization. Members of the board are involved in voting on important decisions related to the nonprofit’s future, as well as fundraising and providing leadership and guidance.

 

Who Can Be on a Board? 

The IRS requires that each nonprofit organization have at least three board members. However, many boards are made up of more members. Often, board members are chosen by a selection committee made up of people close to the organization. That means if you’re looking to be involved with a 501(c)3’s board of directors, it’s important to familiarize yourself with those close to the organization. You’ll also want to demonstrate your passion and involvement with the cause through past volunteer and giving experience.

 

What is Expected on a Nonprofit Board?

Above all else, an organization’s board members are expected to have a passion for the cause. While serving looks great on a resume, that shouldn’t be the driving motivation.

Giving your time is another expectation. Time commitment can vary depending on the organization. At a minimum, a board member needs to meet at least once per year in-person, although most boards involve quarterly or even monthly meetings. 

Board members are also expected to financially contribute, although that doesn’t mean you have to be made of money to serve on a board. Any type of contribution is helpful, no matter how big or small. Many organizations would like to  say that 100% of their board members are donors, which could mean any amount. In addition, one of your biggest goals on a board is to help draw interest in the organization by attracting additional donors and volunteers. You would be expected to leverage your network and even help call upon strangers to explain the cause. Board members are advocates for the organization in all aspects.  

 

What Would I Get Out of Being a Board Member?

Being on a nonprofit board is a big commitment, but it is incredibly fulfilling if it’s the right fit. Because you are pouring more of yourself into the organization, you’ll likely be more invested in the success. While being a resume builder shouldn’t be the sole reason you’re serving on the board, it is an added perk. Above all, you’ll make new connections and have the opportunity to make a lasting impact. 

 

If you’re ready to take the next step with an organization, consider speaking with the executive director about developing a path to join the board. Even if there are no available seats today, there will undoubtedly be more openings in the future. Giving back your time as a board member is a fulfilling way to help make a difference for a cause that you love.

Our Impact in 2020

January 1-December 31
  • The Allstate Foundation grant helps us create safety and security for domestic violence survivors through financial empowerment.

  • At Amethyst Center for Healing we are dedicated to helping individuals, families, and communities recover from trauma and abuse, so that we may all live peaceful, empowered lives.

  • Canyon Creek Services provides free and confidential services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Iron, Beaver and Garfield Counties.

  • CAPSA is a non-profit domestic violence, sexual abuse, and rape recovery center serving Cache County and the Bear Lake area.

  • The DOVE Center is the only area agency providing safe-shelter, crisis intervention, and prevention for clients who have been victimized by violence in their home – whether by a family member or cohabitant – that also serves victims of rape and sexual assault.

  • Founded in 1922, Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake is a non-profit organization that promotes safety, stability and self-sufficiency for low income families and individuals, as well as victims of domestic violence, through effective, efficient legal advocacy and assistance.

  • New Hope Crisis Center has been serving Box Elder County for 30 years. Our mission is to provide all-inclusive, integrated, victim-centered services to stabilize and support individuals, families, and our community.

  • Our organization advocates for victims of domestic violence, rape and sexual assault, and the homeless. Serving people in Sevier, Piute, Millard, Sanpete and Wayne counties of Utah.

  • Peace House is dedicated to ending family violence and abuse through education, outreach, support services, and safe housing.

  • Originally founded in 1984 as The Center for Women and Children in Crisis, The Refuge Utah has been in continuous operation for 33 years. Our mission is to provide a caring, advocating, safe, and educationally based environment for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

  • Safe Harbor, a non-profit organization, provides shelter, supportive services and advocacy to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as education, awareness and resources to our community.

  • Established in 1990, Seekhaven assists survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault rebuild their lives. Serving Grand County and Southeastern Utah, Seekhaven provides a wide range of essential services including client advocacy, emergency shelter, and transition assistance.

  • South Valley Services is a domestic violence service provider in West Jordan, Utah. We provide safe shelter and supportive services to women, men and their children who have been impacted by domestic violence.

  • Preserve the heritage. Enhance the wellbeing. Strengthen the future of the People.

  • Our Mission: To help families of homicide victims receive hope, justice, and healing.

  • Utah Legal Services (ULS) is a nonprofit law office incorporated in 1976 committed to making equal justice a reality by providing free legal help in non-criminal cases to low-income Utahns.

  • YCC Family Crisis Center is a domestic violence shelter and rape crisis center provide services 24/7 to victims and their children.

  • Today, the YWCA is Utah’s most comprehensive provider of family violence services; our programs include walk-in services and a crisis line, emergency shelter, transitional housing, children’s programs, and a vast array of supportive services.

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