How to decide whether to join a volunteer board

Dinner Party DessertIt's an honor and a privilege to have volunteer opportunities to use our time and talents for the betterment of our communities. One common opportunity is to serve as a board member at an organization you care about and whose mission you support.

I've written before about things you might consider when leaving a volunteer board of directors for a non-profit or other community organization. I've also had some good conversations recently about the process on the other side of that kind of community involvement, deciding whether or not to say "yes" to joining a board of directors or taking on some other leadership role. For your sake and for that of the organization, it's important to do some research and reflecting before accepting that invitation, to make sure your involvement is a good fit and that the experience will be rewarding for all involved.

From my experience, here's a list of steps to take and questions to ask when you're considering whether or not to join a board of directors:

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On volunteering

IMG_1141.JPGIt's a privilege to volunteer in one's community. In one sense it's literally a privilege of having the time and means to say "I'm doing okay enough in my own life that I want to share some of my energy in service to the lives of others." In another sense, it's a privilege of publicly holding up what's important to us, a way of honoring our own roles in a community and the value that it has to us. My involvement in the Wayne County area is a way of showing not only my own interest in making it a better place for me and my loved ones to live, but also a way of making a commitment to the lives and needs of those who I don't know that well, who I can't necessarily relate to, who will be here long after I'm gone.
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A matter of some debate

IMG_1521Tonight I had the opportunity to serve as a moderator for the Richmond-Wayne County Legislative debates for contested seats in Wayne County. I did so under the label of a young adult professional, but also thoroughly enjoyed participating in the process as someone interested in local politics, policy and community-building. It was rewarding to see some of the questions I had helped to craft posed to the current and future leaders in our government, and while there are so many parts of local governing and elections that need improvement or replacement, I am energized by the commitment to service demonstrated by so many of the candidates in one form or another. Thanks to them for that.

Did you watch or attend the debates (or listen to them)? What did you think?