Interested in sharing your time, talents, and expertise?
Consider joining a community board! Many of our partner organizations are governed by a Board of Directors, and some have Advisory Boards that operate in a similar capacity.
Board membership is a significant commitment, but is also a deeper and more intensive way to support the community. Faculty and Staff at WVU can make a really great contribution to the community by serving on a board, either by providing leadership in your discipline, procuring funding, facilitating connections to the resources that WVU can offer, or by otherwise assisting the organization in building their capacity to best meet the goals set forth by their mission.
What does it mean to serve on a Board?
- Members of Governing Boards (those that oversee 501-c-3 non-profit organizations, generally) are usually elected and serve as an official representative of that organization, including legal and fiscal responsibility (see more about board legal duties and the “3 Ds provided by Grantspace.org here). Board membership can be very rewarding and is a wonderful addition to anyone’s resume, but does entail regular ongoing commitment for the term (generally at least one year).
- Members of Advisory Boards generally assist organizations at the local level if the “parent” organization is larger or has a National Affiliate (The Salvation Army would be a good example). Advisory Boards have different levels of involvement and may meet monthly or just quarterly.
- Most Boards have several roles for members. Officers lead the board and serve in positions like President or Chair, Treasurer, or Communications Secretary, for example. Committee chairs are sometimes present, and can be great vehicles to assist the organization in a particular area such as Personnel practices, Programming, or Fundraising. Members-at-Large are board members that can serve on said committees, or can assist in other designated ways.
- Some boards ask that members show up ready to work! These types of boards like members to serve onsite with clients, assist at events, lead fundraising efforts, and be involved with staffing. Others ask members to represent the agency and serve in more of an advisory capacity, allowing the staff to provide leadership for these tasks under the direction of the Board. Best practice is to have a diverse group of members on your board with varying levels of tenure and different kinds of expertise.
All board members should be willing to learn about the organization so that they can be an advocate for the programs and services provided.
How can I get involved?
Many of the CSL’s community partners have active boards that often have openings. Organizations currently recruiting board members include:
In the meantime, if you want to serve on a board, think about the following things before inquiring:
1. What’s the amount of time that I’m able to commit? How often does the board meet?
2. What’s the level of involvement that I want to have with the organization? Do I want to be a “working” board member, or more of an “advisory” board member.
3. What am I passionate about or what problems do I most want to help solve in the community?
4. What expertise, skills, talents, or connections can I offer with my participation? What kind of organization could benefit the most from what I have to offer?
Consider checking out resources established by the National Council of NonProfits on their Board Roles and Responsibilities page.