June 8, 2009 | last updated March 24, 2012 1:39 pm

10 Things I Know About...Joining A Nonprofit Board

Allison Lane is an attorney at Fletcher, Tilton & Whipple PC and recently spoke about nonprofit service on a Leading Women panel with Randi Nichols and Marcy Reed. She can be reached at alane@ftwlaw.com.

10. Find Your Passion
If you are going to join a board, it is your responsibility to help the organization fulfill its mission, so you need to be passionate about the organization.

9. Personal Fulfillment
There is no better feeling than knowing that you are helping a person, a group of people or a cause that you feel strongly about.

8. Professional Skills And Development
One of the strongest benefits of joining a board is the development of professional skills and knowledge in a variety of areas.

7. Financial Expectation
Most boards expect their members to give financially. Find out what your board expects of you.

6. Do Your Homework
Contact existing board members to learn how the organization recruits new members. The board development chair or nominating committee chair can be of great assistance.

5. Duty Of Care
Board members have the legal duty to be informed and exercise independent judgment on the decisions of the board. With this duty comes the obligation to attend meetings, gather information and make informed decisions.

4. Duty Of Loyalty
Board members have a legal duty to exercise their power in good faith and to act in the best interest of the organization. This involves maintaining confidentiality about board actions, avoiding conflicts of interest and remaining impartial.

3. Leaving Gracefully
It is always best to have direct conversations with the president of the board or the executive committee to identify a replacement and to put a timeline in place.

2. Networking/Visibility
Board service allows you to get to know other people in the community, sometimes in your field but often in other areas of expertise.

1. Get Involved
Working for an organization that you feel passionate about will help you grow and develop personally; will help the community of which you belong; and will assist you in developing new skills.


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