From Our Team
Posted on June 22, 2023 by Guest Author
Volunteering can be one of the most fulfilling experiences in a person’s life. People can volunteer time, talent, and treasures for various activities such as mentoring youth, distributing food at a local pantry, coaching youth sports, cleaning up an elderly neighbor’s yard, responding to a natural disaster, organizing fundraising events, participating in a place of worship, and much more.
Serving on a nonprofit board of directors is another excellent way to give back to your community. Being a board member, sometimes called a trustee, offers a meaningful opportunity to apply your experience and professional talents while developing new skills, meeting new people, and enjoying a sense of fulfillment.
When considering a board position with a nonprofit organization, it is essential to understand the organization’s mission, the financial situation of the organization, the duties of the board, and how its functions. Advisory Boards are not responsible for the governance or management of the organization. In most cases, their role is to provide—you guessed it—the organization with advice and thought leadership. The Governance Boards provide fiduciary oversight, strategic direction, and fiscal/program oversight to the nonprofit organization and are not involved in the organization’s operations. The day-to-day management is the responsibility of the Executive Director and staff. Working Boards take on a “direct/active” role. In addition to their governance responsibilities, working board members may be involved in ongoing operations and performing the organization’s day-to-day work. Smaller nonprofits with limited budgets to hire staff often utilize the working board model.
Just as important as knowing the different types of boards is understanding the decisive role that governance board members play in the success of a nonprofit and, more significantly, the impact on the people, environment, animals, arts, and culture they serve. It is also critical to understand the potential liabilities of board service.
Since 2016, the Paso del Norte Health Foundation has partnered with United Way of El Paso County to deliver the REALIZE Board Training Program. REALIZE Board provides a variety of workshops, training, and summits to ensure the success of nonprofit organizations that serve the region’s communities. The program includes eight courses with 1-hour modules delivered by local BoardSource certified trainers focused on understanding board member roles and responsibilities, nonprofit board structures, fundraising, and more. Courses are offered to individual boards of 10 or more members and through the REALIZE Lunch & Learn series, which takes place twice a month in person during the lunch hour – 12 pm to 1:15 pm. The next Lunch & Learn series is scheduled to begin in the Fall.
Individuals who complete a minimum of four courses qualify to participate in the Get on Board program that matches candidates’ interests with local nonprofit organizations looking for board members. This opens new opportunities to get involved, enrich one’s life, and make a difference in the community.
To learn more about how to be a high-performing board member or enroll in a course, visit www.realizeboard.org.
PDNHF Priority Area: Health Leadership
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