At some point in a career people often wonder about joining a not-for-profit Board. Their motive can vary from wanting to contribute to a worthwhile cause, through to a desire to remain alert & active as their time as an employee starts to wind down and they look for new areas to focus.
The question, inevitably, is how to be ‘noticed’ so that an invitation arrives? The article by Sarah Mackey titled ‘steps toward board leadership’ provides 3 clear avenues to (hopefully) position you for that elusive invitation.
One step covered by Sarah is ‘volunteering’ and I’ve seen people become more involved via a two-pronged approach. Firstly they might have volunteered in the more traditional manner by assisting in the mainstream volunteering type of function for the organisation. Secondly, they have then identified an opportunity to volunteer within their own area of expertise. For example, I’ve seen a very senior HR person volunteer for some front-line charitable works in a cancer support agency, then later she provided advice and counsel to their central office team on HR matters. She was then invited onto their board and also subsequently operated as their CEO for a period.
See related article ‘How to care and feed a Board of Directors’