I meet so many people who think it's glamorous and lucrative to serve on the board of a company like Toys R Us or Target or Best Buy. And, I'm sure it is. But to get there usually requires the first step of serving on a non profit board or boards.
Do you have what it takes?
If you think you don't have time or the ability to land on such a board, you're wrong. There are more than 1.4 million non profit boards in the United States. They are looking for expertise in certain areas, passion, political connections, time commitment and fund raising abilities. Last summer, I became a board member of Women Executive Leadership (WEL), an organization that works to advocate to get women on corporate boards. I've met some amazing women and learned tons about governance.
Some boards have six people on them. Some have 40. They might be charities, religious organizations and government agencies.
Bonnie Crabtree, Managing Director at Korn Ferry International, put on a WEL workshop this morning on Non Profit Boards. She said high performing boards typically recruit continuously. They are great places to network and learn new skills. But if you commit, expect to put in some time. More boards are initiating requirements that limit missed meetings. Some, like charities such as Big Brother/Big Sister also are requiring a financial commitment.
Bonnie shared this great piece of advice: "Avoid being over or under involved."