Have you asked your board members lately: why do you serve on our board?  As you probably expect, a primary response I hear is: “ To make a difference.” “Because I care about the mission.” We are generally aware of this “soft stuff” which provides a critical foundation for board service. It is natural to want to be part of something bigger than ourselves. But what else?

What is that you say? You think it’s selfish to be thinking about what you (or others) can get out of board service? Of course it’s not! We give of ourselves and our precious time to efforts we value. Valuing something is rooted in what is meaningful for us – and that can (and does) go beyond mission. It’s a powerful board recruitment strategy to offer more. I suggest you consider how to answer: “What’s in it for you?” in more depth for your board prospects. Here are six practical benefits you may not have thought of.

In, The Business Professional’s Guide to Nonprofit Board Service, Dambach, Tessier, & Weisman report on a study of 50 corporations that encourage nonprofit board involvement among their employees. The study found that, in addition to personal gratification, these business professionals gained:

  1. Higher job satisfaction
  2. Unique networking opportunities
  3. New leadership insights and experiences
  4. Personal learning and growth
  5. New perspectives
  6. Recognition within the community and at work

That’s quite a return on investment for their time and effort!  I discovered another study that identified specific leadership competencies people gain by serving on nonprofit boards. I’ll share those in a future post.  If you have served, or are serving, on a nonprofit board: what are the practical benefits from your experience?  Something in addition to what’s listed above? I would love to hear your opinion and so would others so please think about it and share here!