As I have said many times before in this blog, I don't like calling any "body" but the by-law specified governing body a "board". Maybe it's just semantics but the following excerpt from an article providing insights on how to join a board emphasizes this concept of Junior and Associate Boards as gateways to becoming a nonprofit board member, particularly for those who do not have a lot of money but may meet a nonprofit's diversity goals. The article also puts forth the premise that pretty much the reason nonprofits have a board is raising money - another principle I heartily contest
But those of us who aren’t rich, older and well-connected often think we don’t have a shot at joining a board. Turns out now is a better time than ever for young people, women, people of color and early-to-mid career people to get a spot on a board, experts say.
“Boards are looking for diversity, for millennials,” says Lenkov — as these groups may help them better connect with a younger, more diverse customer base, help with things like social media and technology, and more. What’s more, many nonprofits have even created associate or junior boards, explicitly for early-to-mid career people, says CariClub founder Rhoden Monrose. “These associate boards are a conduit for future board members,” he says. And Larry Lieberman, who became a board member for the young-adult suicide prevention organization JED Foundation at 40, says that these associate/junior boards are often cheaper to join (sometimes you just have to pony up $500) and may be less time consuming than a full-fledged board membership.
So how do you get on a board even if you’re still young, not an executive and not all that wealthy? One simple way is to become a member of the organization, prove yourself as invaluable and apply for the board position as it comes up, says marketing expert Michelle Ngome. It’s usually also essential to have skills that the organization is looking for, says Lieberman — which could include anything from marketing and communications to fundraising or business development.
Be prepared to pony up some money: Some nonprofit boards require big funds, others — especially associate and junior boards — might require nothing or just $500 or so; you may also be able to fundraise in lieu of a fat donation. (Corporate boards tend to pay their board members — often more than six figures — but because of this they’re often harder to get on.) And Ngome notes that you should factor in clothing, makeup, hair and other things if you’re on the board for an organization with a lot of galas, for example.
Bottom line: “Joining a board is pretty easy unless you want to be paid for your service,” says Erica McCurdy, a certified coach at LunaNav. “Most smaller nonprofits actively look for people with interest in board service, so mentioning a desire to serve will often be enough to start the conversation.” You can also look at a site like Bridgespan.org for board postings, recommends Lenkov.
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Bottom line: NO! Wrong message! Board membership begins with a passion for the organization's mission. Fundraising is a duty only if agreed to when signing-on and only after the whole board agrees. And there's only one fiduciary body: the board of directors (or trustees). There may be associate bodies that indeed should prove useful to groom candidates but this is not a board.