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

Four Great Reasons to Join a Nonprofit Board

Why should you consider filling one of the 1.8 million nonprofit board seats that open up in the US every year? Most candidates come to us with an answer to this question before we even ask. We hear, “My wife is pregnant and I want to model ‘giving back’ for our children,” “I was always a leader in college and grad school but until now I’ve been too busy to give back,” and “I feel an obligation to share because I’ve been so fortunate” among many other great reasons.

Four Great Reasons to Join a Nonprofit Board

Once the decision has been made to give back in a substantive way, the next question for many becomes what is the best way to do so?  Most of our candidates feel as we do: there is no better return on your nonprofit time investment than through board service.

The impact our candidates have with two to three hours of board service a month is dramatically higher than what they could accomplish with two or three hours of direct service.

Consider this one example of many: a recent board placement reorganized her nonprofit’s services so they were able to save $450,000 a year, without cutting any employees’ jobs…with just a few hours of her time.  The amount of direct service this $450,000 will buy is staggering, and much greater than what this candidate’s direct service time would have accomplished. The “return on her time” was spectacular.

So what rewards and opportunities can you expect from joining a nonprofit board?

Maximize Your Impact

For most of our candidates, although they would enjoy teaching computer skills to an elderly person or reading skills to a young child, the truth is that the unique skills they bring to their work on a nonprofit board, in areas such as creating a strategic plan or reorganizing their nonprofit’s marketing or finances, are the grease that oils the nonprofit’s engines. It allows for the critical direct services to be delivered at maximum capacity.

Develop New Leadership Skills

There are invaluable skills you’ll acquire serving on a board. In fact, several of the New York’s top companies send us their professionals for board matching because they believe board service is a powerful leadership training tool for their employees. Sitting on any board, whether it’s corporate or nonprofit, can teach you a tremendous amount.

Help Build a Business

Nonprofits have management, marketing, public relations/communications, financial, strategic planning, tech, human resources and governance issues. Diving into any of these areas – understanding the concerns and making decisions that will impact a nonprofit – offers you a chance to have a very different role than you may have in your professional life. It’s a chance to develop new capabilities and grow a business (albeit a nonprofit one).

Grow Your Network

Serving on a board is also a wonderful way to meet people and expand your network. Whether it’s making new friends (and our candidates do become very close to their board colleagues) or meeting new clients – board service exposes you to other high impact New Yorkers who want to help the nonprofit community and be part of our city’s leadership.


Now that you have a stronger understanding of some of the reasons for joining a nonprofit board – what are you waiting for?  Apply today to join a nonprofit board representing a cause you care about, or learn more about the primary considerations when selecting a board.

This post was co-authored by BoardAssist Executive Director Cynthia Remec and BoardAssist Young Professionals Board Co-Chair Chris Cattie.