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How to Engage with Your Passions in Retirement Through Non-Profit Board Work

By Susan K Spaulding August 22, 2016 Lifestyle

Retirement for most Boomers does not mean taking it easy in a rocking chair. They aren’t looking for another job but many recognize a calling to find a way to give back to their community. One way is to serve as a board member for a not for profit organization.

That’s a great idea but too often they discover volunteer boards are passive. They suspect many board members are there primarily to add to their own resume. On top of that, too often organizations are only going through the motions of board governance and never really try to engage the board members.

Consider your long-standing community relationships. Those relationships can help you develop a model to use in pursuing volunteer board positions.

The underlying premise should be one of full engagement. That can mean being accessible all day, every day. It means matching your expertise to the needs of the organization. And, it can include seeking out an existing board member who can serve as a mentor.

What to Consider When Choosing a Board

Another unique strategy is encouraging the practice of role-playing at board meetings. This can insure members are comfortable responding to any question from the community or situation involving the community. In that way, you can truly be advocates for the organization.

The most important consideration you should have in choosing an organization to serve is that you have a passion for its mission. You need to feel something for the organization and believe they are going to make a difference.

Things to Consider Before Accepting a Volunteer Role

There are other factors to consider before accepting a volunteer role with a non-profit. When you are meeting with the Executive Director or current Board members, consider these questions:

  • May I see your financials?
  • How do you envision my role?
  • In what areas can I be of service and how will that work?
  • In what areas can I get involved?
  • Is there a financial commitment on my part? What is that?
  • What are the demographics of board membership?

Once you are satisfied with the answers you have received and join the organization’s board commit to developing a real passion for the mission of the organization. Get to know the other board members both on a professional and a personal level. These colleagues can lead to new relationships and new opportunities. But most importantly, follow through on the commitment you made in joining.

Are you ready for Life 2.0? What Board experience would you like to share with others? Please join the conversation.

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The Author

Susan K Spaulding, is the author of Recalibrate for Life 2.0, Transition Stories for Business Leaders and Recalibrate, An Accelerated Guide for Strategic Growth, and principal of Recalibrate Strategies. She focuses on collaboratively facilitating great outcomes for her clients whether establishing a new brand, cultivating new markets, or recalibrating for personal and business success.

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