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February 18, 2019 10 Things

10 Things I Know About ... Serving on nonprofit boards

Jessica Morris

10) Attend meetings. Show up. Regularly attend board and committee meetings to ensure you are a known presence and well informed of the operations.

9) Ask questions. Learn as much as you can about all aspects of the organization.

8) Announce you are on the board. Tell your friends and professional network you are now serving on a nonprofit board. You were chosen to help govern the organization for your skills and reputation, so capitalize on them.

7) Attend events and programs. Be an active board member. Support the organization's programs, events and initiatives by showing up at them.

6) Network within the board. Meet as many fellow board members as possible. Get to know them and create alliances in order to move the organization forward. It will make your board service more enjoyable having relationships with fellow members.

5) Promote the organization on social media. Follow the organization and promote it through any media you are engaged in. Be excited about the organization and the work it is doing, and get your network excited too.

4) Bring new ideas to the table. You were selected to be on the board for your knowledge and experience. Use it to help bring new ideas and suggestions to help the organization grow and flourish.

3) Help diversify the board. Boards should be representative of the community they are serving. Use your network to recruit new board members who will bring a broader section of voices, perspectives and ideas.

2) Present at a board meeting. When given the opportunity, present at a board meeting. This will demonstrate you have knowledge to share with the group and you are committed to the organization's success.

1) Take on a leadership position. When given the opportunity, take on an enhanced leadership role such as executive committee or committee chair. Your voice will be elevated, and you will make a greater impact.

Jessica Morris is the senior associate dean of students at MCPHS University's Worcester campus. She is on the boards at the YWCA of Central Massachusetts and Mechanics hall. Reach her at 

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