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All A-Board! How Do I Match Myself to a Board Position?

By Barbara Bloch

Vice President of Major Gifts

Serving on a nonprofit board is an excellent way to move the mission of a deserving organization forward. It can also be an extremely personal and rewarding experience. But where to start if you have never served on a Board before? How do you match yourself with a Board that is perfect for YOU?


First, do your homework. Approach this process as if it was a job search. Understand your prospective organization’s strategic plan, communication structure, and the effectiveness of the current Board. Do Board members sync with the Executive Director and organizational leadership? Does the Board function well in general? How are differences in opinion handled? Are varying points of view addressed? This may require interviews of previous and current Board members to help you understand if the organization is a fit for you. During this discovery process, investigate the time commitment and ensure you have capacity to serve your organization fairly and effectively.


Look out for Boards with diverse skill sets. Is the Board comprised of members who have various skills (attorney, accountant, marketing, development, community involvement) that make the Board better than the sum of its parts? What do you bring to this Board that is unique and impactful? Do you understand the needs of the organization? Can you bring a new perspective to the Board room?  Be prepared to share your unique abilities, skills and point of view with the organization.


Are you passionate about the organization and its mission? It’s a lot easier to give your time and talent to a project or mission that moves you. A good Board member is a convener, a liaison, a coach, a connector…are you willing to do these things on behalf of the people and the organization you would serve?


Finally, are you willing to financially contribute to the organization by actively participating in fundraisers and other fundraising activites that are critical to the success and sustainability of the organization? Model the impact you wish others to make.

Ultimately, choosing a Board to serve on is a process. Take the time to do your research and seek out an organization that reflects your values and passion and could benefit from your knowledge and experience. Finding the right organization creates opportunities for personal growth and networking, but most importantly, moves missions forward in lasting and meaningful ways.

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