An accomplished professional in his mid-30s called me recently. He wanted to get more engaged in the community and wanted my advice on how to best do that. He said he wanted to help an arts nonprofit go from start-up to adolescence or to help an aging arts group become relevant to new generations. He could be a great asset for the community.
What was unfortunate was that he hadn’t seriously considered board service as the solution. Like many professionals in our generation, he had three myths in his head:
1) MYTH: You have to be able to give $10,000 to join a board.
You do need to be prepared to give, but many boards require board members to make smaller gifts in the $500 to $1,000 range and to then do some fundraising. Most mid-career professionals can easily swing this if they are employed.
2) MYTH: You need to have gray hair.
Most boards have too much gray hair and want more rising stars.
3) MYTH: You need to be involved in an organization for years before you get invited onto their board.
This is true for well-established organizations but many will recruit directly or only require 6 months of dating before getting married.
So, if you are an employed professional in your 30s or 40s, go get on a board. The nonprofit community needs you.
Build the relationships necessary to join boards by giving back through pro bono projects.