There’s a million boards out there…professional ones, non-profit ones, company ones, it goes on forever. So, how do you figure out what is worth your time, and really who can use your help and expertise the most. Joining professional and non-profit boards have been some of the best experiences I’ve had since I graduated from college.
They make it easy (in my opinion) to be involved in college but it can be intimidating once you leave that happy, little bubble. I’ve met several professionals in advertising and public relations through groups like the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the American Advertising Federation (AAF), plus it’s given me the opportunity to hear some fantastic speakers and expand my knowledge set. I also had the chance to serve on the board for the Akron Zoo’s Summer Safari event, the zoo’s biggest fundraiser annually. Plus, for fun I am on the board for a soccer supporters group called American Outlaws.
Everybody’s experiences are different and I think there are a few different ideas that can frame your decision:
- Advocacy: Are you passionate about a particular civil right? Do you feel strongly about an issue in the current political landscape? Has your life been impacted by a disease or illness you want to help raise funds to cure? This is the perfect place to start. Find the nonprofits locally (or a local chapter) that has a board or committee that acts on their behalf. Help create a voice for that group locally – the passion of the board members will create excitement in the local chapter.
- Skills: This leads me to the follow-up to advocacy – what can you offer? Do you love event planning? Writing? Organizing? Recruiting? I could go on forever. Think about what you do day-to-day or what kinds of skills you may have to easily offer to a board. For me it’s always been a communications play – social media, content and promotions. Remember! You don’t have to do what you do from day-to-day – just find a position or committee you are interested in and something you can offer of value.
- Career: Every career has one (or 10) groups and clubs that you can join easily. Join a committee and help out to start, groups like these always need the additional support to keep the professional groups running. Plus, events like these help you create new professional bonds and even friendships.
- Hobbies: What do you love to do? Do you love sports, crafting, running, food, beer, music? I could name 100 things – and they all have groups that love the same thing. These groups have boards and committees to help create and promote events – or just plain recruit. Plus, they are great ways to decompress from a long day and a way to find others that share your love of that coffee IPA.
So, there you have it! Take the leap and reach out to a non-profit or organization you have been looking to get involved in today. It’s not that scary, I promise!