Captioning–Press (Special Page)

"Our BoardAssist candidates have been amazing additions to our Board of Directors."

Executive Director, Good Shepherd Services.
Credit: Volunteers of America
helping individuals and families in need

FAQs about Joining a Nonprofit Board: Timing is Everything

Generous New Yorkers interested in joining a nonprofit board reach out to us daily about giving more back to our community – and one of the biggest questions they have is about the time commitment that board service will require.  This is a very valid concern for board candidates to have and one that should be addressed very early in the conversations any board candidate is having with a potential board.  We hope this week’s post will help you think through the questions about timing you want to ask as you consider board service.  The following comes from our book Giving Back, downloadable from the top of every page of our website.  


FAQs about Joining a Nonprofit Board:  Timing is Everything


From Giving Back:

It goes without saying, no matter how much you may feel connected to the mission of a particular nonprofit, if the time commitment expected of you is different from what you can realistically deliver, it won’t work.  The fit is wrong.  We ask our board candidates to consider (a) how often a board meets, (b) at what time of day, (c) do you also need to serve on a committee, and how often do they meet, and (d) can you phone in to board meetings and still be considered an engaged board member (and do other board members phone in)?


If you work on a trading floor and need to be at work by 7:30 every morning, pick a board that meets in the evenings.  Do you routinely leave the office at 10 p.m. but come in at 9:30 in the morning…..perhaps a board that meets early in the morning would work best for you.  This may seem like a minor housekeeping item, but the time of day and how often the board and committee meet must be considered.  If realistically you can attend only four board meetings a year don’t pick a board that meets monthly.


Phoning in is always an interesting issue.  In the board courting process, boards will assure potential trustees that it’s perfectly acceptable to call in to board meetings.  The reality, however, may be very different.  If you are the only one routinely calling in to board meetings, it’s quite possible you will antagonize the rest of the board and you won’t accomplish as much as you would like.  Find out how many other board members typically phone in rather than attend in person.


Want to read more of the FAQs folks ask us before joining a nonprofit board?  Learn more by downloading Giving Back, our guide to nonprofit board service, complete with case studies and answers to the FAQs we are asked most about board service.

Ready to dive in and start exploring the perfect board for you?  Tell us more about what matters most to you – what your dream board looks like – and we’ll get started.