As corporations increasingly recognize the value of supporting employees in nonprofit board service, the contours of effective board service programs are taking shape. Such programs not only signify a commitment to community engagement but also serve as catalysts for transformative leadership development.
UNDERSTANDING THE COMMUNITY AND ITS NEEDS:
For a board service program to be impactful, companies must first understand the communities they aim to support. This involves learning from nonprofit partners and community leaders, aligning the company’s work with the identified needs of the community, and considering power dynamics within partnerships. By centering feedback from these communities, companies can ensure that their board service programs are relevant and responsive to the actual needs on the ground.
CONVEYING THE WEIGHT OF THE ROLE:
Encouraging employees to grasp the responsibilities and time commitment associated with board service is crucial. Board service demands an average of 8 to 10 hours per month, with typical terms lasting two to three years. It emphasizes the need to set clear expectations for employees, making them aware of fiduciary responsibilities and the potential risks involved. Board service is a collective effort requiring dedicated members to collaboratively steer the organization toward its mission.
OFFERING RESOURCES AND TRAINING:
Success in board service hinges on providing employees with the necessary resources and training. Companies can tailor these offerings based on the target population and the team’s capacity. Hands-on placement for high-level leaders and executives, accompanied by informative materials outlining board roles, responsibilities, and risks, as well as insight into the organization’s missions and cultures, will go a long way in developing appropriate and meaningful board experiences. This comprehensive approach ensures that employees are well-prepared for their board service journey.
MATCHING GIFTS AND HOURS OF SERVICE:
To encourage more employees to participate in board service, companies can consider matching gifts and hours of service. This reflects a commitment to community impact while also addressing financial barriers that may deter some employees. The article stresses the importance of clearly outlining policies related to matching gifts and donations, setting expectations for those interested in service.
MITIGATING RISKS AND ENSURING SUCCESS:
Companies also need to acknowledge the high stakes involved in board service programs with an emphasis on evaluating associated risks and developing strategies to mitigate them. This strategic approach ensures that both the company and board members navigate potential challenges effectively.
In a post-pandemic economy, volunteer engagement strategies must be adaptable and purposeful. A successful board service program, with the right training and resources, can be a flagship initiative. Such programs empower employees to acquire new skills, accelerate leadership development, and build resilient nonprofit partners, all while contributing to the company’s commitment to community impact. By embracing diverse volunteer opportunities, including nonprofit board service, companies can cultivate a culture of purpose that resonates with employees and fosters lasting community impact.
THIS ARTICLE WAS ALSO FEATURED IN OUR 2024 NONPROFIT TRENDS GUIDE. READ THE ARTICLE AND MUCH MORE RELATED CONTENT HERE!
Tania Quigley, CPA
Tania Quigley has been a member of Cerini & Associates’ audit and consulting practice area since 2005 where she focuses on serving the firms nonprofit and employee benefit plan clientele. Tania has experience in performing financial statement audits and reviews, tax return preparation, cost report preparation and filing, retirement plan audits, and other consulting. Tania brings her expertise, diversified background, and helpful approach to all of her engagements.