Hi all, I have been presented with an opportunity to join the board of a non-profit organization. Specifically, the organization is for the advancement of music and performing arts, which is of personal significance to me. I am pretty interested in joining, but this will be the first board of any kind I have served on. Is anyone else here a member of a non-profit board? If so, I was curious to know more about your rationale and motivation for joining the board, as well as what you may have learned from your experience as a board member. In addition, did you feel you developed any meaningful leadership skills or give back to the community in some meaningful way? Finally, what are some things you would consider when deciding whether or not to join a board (things like time constraints, personalities, organizational goals, etc.)? In addition, from the perspective of business school admisisons, how valuable would board experience be? On some level I hesitate to ask this question because I don’t want business school to be a substantial motivator for anything I do. However, I am seriously considering applying in the next year or two, and given that I already have one or two other volunteering commitments, it would be helpful to know how much value this non-profit board experience would be. Any information you guys could provide would be appreciated. I am a novice when it comes to this stuff so any feedback you guys could offer would likely be helpful.
anecdotal…but i have a friend who goes to Wharton and he was a board for 3 years and became Associate Director. he said he was able to knock out leadership and volunteering at the same time. just scroll down to Charles Chen http://www.lauder.wharton.upenn.edu/pdf/FACEBOOK%202009.pdf
Pacmandefense - you da man.
They pay for your insurance? Than do it! Great experience! Congrats!
numi Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > If so, I was curious to know more about > your rationale and motivation for joining the > board, “Power and the money, money and the power Minute after minute, hour after hour.”
I really wonder how much the soft skills and networking of the Aristocracy are complemented by finance knowledge and mathematical ability?
Thanks for the link, pacmandefense. Interesting bios. On another note, I just found this link that lists some considerations that one should think about when joining the board of a non-profit organization. Seems like an OK article to me. http://gbr.pepperdine.edu/993/boards.html Anyone else have thoughts or interesting reading material on this subject?
Numi my father serves on the school board back in my hometown. He feels honorable using his CPA/MBA knowledge for the benefit of the school community. I would imagine you would have a similar experience at this organization.
But in this case, it’s using that experience as an item on the application to get an MBA. Different sequence and different motivation.
numi Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Thanks for the link, pacmandefense. Interesting > bios. > > On another note, I just found this link that lists > some considerations that one should think about > when joining the board of a non-profit > organization. Seems like an OK article to me. > > http://gbr.pepperdine.edu/993/boards.html > > Anyone else have thoughts or interesting reading > material on this subject? thought about it. make senses for me to work with ppl of different backgrounds when i apply to Tuck (group focused), as they stick ppl in groups in which the members are from different backgrounds. so in essence, its like training for Tuck.
These bios are amazing. I’m inspired.
Well, people with those types of bios, the MBA types, who manage to get to the top through soft skills and networking spout out crap like: > “We were seeing things that were 25-standard > deviation moves, several days in a row.” > - David Viniar, Goldman Sachs CFO.
sublimity Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > But in this case, it’s using that experience as an > item on the application to get an MBA. Different > sequence and different motivation. Agreed. Especially being a non-profit board.
interesting bios. makes me wanna go back to sch just to hang out with such well-rounded and diverse folks… choices choices choices… wonder what the median age is tho?
One thing I should be clear about is that I’ve always been a proponent of the music and the arts; it’s not as though I would ever sign up for a board whose mission I didn’t believe in. Now, getting back to the original topic – can any of you who serve on a non-profit board, or who know friends that are board members, speak broadly about their experience and how it has benefited them intellectually, professionally, or socially? I know the question as posed does not sound entirely altruistic, but I do believe that most normal people have to spend time developing themselves first in order to have the knowledge and resources to give to others. As such, my curiosity for non-profit boards has as much to do with the short-term (i.e. my being happy for the near future and getting into business school) as it does with the long-term (when I’ve established myself professionally and I can dedicate the majority of my life to more charitable causes). Any insights would be appreciated.
fxguy1234 just starting working on a nonprofit board http://www.analystforum.com/phorums/read.php?1,850815,850882#msg-850882
Numi, How do you get these positions? Is it plain networking? Are they looking for particular qualifications?
projectplatnyc – thanks for linking that thread. I hope fxguy1234 sees this post and can offer his opinion on my situation, too. aval – I have gotten wind of non-profit board opportunities through alumni. This present opportunity actually came from boardnetusa.com. I filled out a profile pretty thoroughly and it appears there was a good match between myself and the organization based on my work experience (finance) and my interests (music and fine arts). My guess is that the board has been looking for someone to help handle the business matters of their organization but who can also identify with the mission and goals of the group. I’ll keep you guys posted as I get more details, but from what I could tell, it seemed to be a good fit from both a personality and experience perspective.
numi Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > projectplatnyc – thanks for linking that thread. > I hope fxguy1234 sees this post and can offer his > opinion on my situation, too. > numi - It sounds like this position is aligned with your interests. I took a Non-Profit Board Training class through United Way and the first thing they tell you is to make sure that you are passionate about the mission of the Non-Profit. Would you willingly drop everything to help this organization out in a time of emergency? I have been on the Board of Directors for just a month now and it has been very interesting so far. To answer your first question, my rationale for joining my board was to get more involved with my community, to gain leadership experience outside of work, be peers with people significantly above my pay grade (learning and networking opportunity), and to gain some different financial experience akin to running a small company. I am also looking to apply to business school in the near future and I’m sure this couldn’t hurt my chances. You definitley want to make sure that the board is a fit for you as well. Just talk with the current members about their working/management style and what the expectations are to make sure that will mesh with your own style. The amount of time commitments may very but for me its around 8 hours a month plus extra time when we have our bigger fundraising events. Also keep in mind that most all non-profits will not only expect personal financial contributions from its board members but also help in fundraising in general. Hope this helps and let me know if you have more specific questions. I’m happy to scan and send you my package of material I have from the United Way. -fxguy1234
fxguy1234, thanks very much for the insights. I appreciate the advice and would like to keep in touch as I get more involved in non-profit related activities. Can you drop me a note at porcupines AT gmail DOT com? I’d love to keep in touch and would also be curious to see what the United Way documents are like. Likewise I’ll keep you posted on how things go on my end.