Encourage Young Professionals to Serve on Boards
I was recently asked by a young attorney, age 25, to meet and talk with him about first-time volunteerism. His law firm encourages nonprofit board participation. As he was someone who has never served on a board, I was expecting a variety of questions from him. I love to mentor and especially enjoy talking to a different generation about serving institutions. It is very important that all of us share our ideas and experiences with others.
The attorney asked several important questions, including:
- Do I have to make a mandatory $5,000 or more annual gift?
- What is expected of me with respect to time of service per month?
- What are the functions expected of me as a board member?
- What type of board should I serve on at first?
- Should I expect to serve on a board that doesn't have term limits?
It was apparent to me that I had to start at Board Service 101. I asked him what his personal passion was in life. While I knew he understood the concept of time, talent and treasure, he needed to focus on service where he would maximize his engagement. I knew he loved sports — especially iron man races. He worked out all of the time. We talked about organizations that were sports-related and served younger populations of those in need.
I connected him with a community leader in the sports arena. He and I previously served on a new foundation as volunteers. No one knows more about board opportunities in the sports realm than my connection.
As the attorney also asked how many boards he should serve on, I told him less is more. I know his wonderful parents, and I am certain he will have a long and positive career as a community volunteer.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at email@example.com or 317-224-1029.