by Mike Siegel, Texas Care Alliance
Walking into a room of 80+ young professionals eager to earn a seat on a nonprofit board was a daunting experience, to say the least. After hearing from five different leaders of local nonprofits, each as passionate about his or her cause as the next, I knew I found my calling with the National Kidney Foundation (NKF). As the North Texas Board Chair described NKF’s mission to provide education, awareness and prevention of kidney disease, which aligns well with my day job, I began to think that maybe I could offer something to the NKF Board. Suddenly, the prospect of applying to a nonprofit board seat, along with so many others and with no such experience, didn’t seem so intimidating.
The process included a written application through the DRC Young Professionals and interviews with the local NKF Director as well as its Board Chair. Shortly thereafter, I was surprised and excited when I was ultimately offered a seat on the North Texas Board of NKF. Being new to board service and younger than most board members is yet another uncomfortable position. However, it is my hope that those currently considering applying to the Get On Board program will encounter a similarly welcoming environment as the one I’ve been afforded at NKF. Regardless, new board members should make the effort to get to know their peers and the staff they support.
The opportunity to serve on a nonprofit board can be as rewarding as you choose to make it. While you may not be in the position to financially contribute at the level of some board members, you can challenge yourself by stepping out of your comfort zone and consciously trying to improve your networking and fundraising skills. Moreover, I have been able to volunteer at local fundraising and education events that allow for direct interaction with the communities we aim to serve. With less than a year of board service, I have met and worked with some truly amazing people in Dallas who continue to inspire me to serve our community. The opportunity to support your organization’s mission is all the reason you need to devote your time and energy toward being an effective board member.
If there is any advice I can offer to future nonprofit board members, it is:
- be active and involved with your organization, far beyond just the board meetings; and
- contribute whatever resources you can to those you’re serving, whether it be time, money, perspective, connections or even writing a testimonial encouraging community involvement.
The Get on Board event is Thursday, May 17th and is open to all DRC Young Professionals members. The event allows you the opportunity to network with nonprofit executives and learn more about what it means to serve on a nonprofit board as well as explanation on the process of attaining a board seat. To register, please click here.
There will also be a table set up at the DRC YP + Say Yes To Dallas Happy Hour on Thursday, April 26th. Please stop by to learn more.