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Do I Have the Right Stuff for a Nonprofit Board?

Ever thought about being a nonprofit board member? Have you always assumed that only the super wealthy or business celebrities serve on nonprofit boards? Here's the reality: Nonprofit organizations function in complex, ever-changing environments. Successful boards serve as brain trusts in making strategic decisions. Your know-how might be just the right stuff to make a difference for the right board.
  • Are You a Super Salesperson? Does everyone say you can sell ice to Eskimos? Your marketing talents could be valuable on the board of an arts organization seeking to build its audience.
  • Are You a CPA/CFO? Almost every nonprofit needs a board member who can translate complicated reports about funds from diverse sources, guide the budgeting process and advise the staff about fiscal management procedures.
  • Are You an Entrepreneur or Venture Capitalist? Taking chances trying to find new ways to solve society's problems is what nonprofits are all about. Your skill in evaluating options and making strategic choices would make you a valuable board member. Nonprofits provide a fertile field for organizers with the creativity and talent for putting together special events -- from "-athons" to elegant dinners.
  • Are You a Human Resources Specialist? Nonprofit organizations often employ many people. You could give invaluable guidance to the board and staff on the complex issues of personnel policies and benefits.
  • Are You the Mediator/Consensus Builder in Your Office? There are many boards that would benefit from your talent for managing egos and bringing together people with differing viewpoints.
  • Are You a Tech-Savvy Professional? Most nonprofits struggle to keep up with the rapidly changing world of technology. If you are a technology guru, many boards would welcome your guidance on everything from CRM software to database use to Web sites and email.
  • Is Your Specialty Facilities Management? Many nonprofits are responsible for extensive real estate -- from residences for senior citizens and healthcare facilities to theaters and museum buildings. Your expertise could be crucial.

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