Serving on the board of a non-profit is rewarding. You have an opportunity to give back to the community and make a difference in the lives of those you serve. Serving on a non-profit board can be quite different than serving on a corporate board in that many non-profit boards tend to be hands on and very active in how the organization is run. Since board members can be hands on, the way they interact with volunteers, clients and vendors can strengthen or damage the reputation of the non-profit.
But don’t worry; here are two easy yet impactful things you can do to be a great non-profit board member:
Look forward to meeting and greeting volunteers, clients and vendors. When you serve on a non-profit board, you serve a segment of the community. Look forward to meeting and learning more about them. This makes people feel respected and appreciated. And, respect and appreciation does not cost the organization or donors one penny.
Thank volunteers, clients and vendors – often. This is one of the biggest reasons people stop giving and volunteering. The most important thing a person owns is his or her time. Unlike money and other material possessions that can be replaced, time cannot. Once it is gone, you can never get it back. Make sure they know how much you value them and what they do for you.
For example, some clients have a difficult time receiving assistance and support. Thanking them for their trust makes them feel more connected with your organization and grateful for the service you provide. Volunteers are completely free in giving of their time and are instrumental to the success of many non-profits; a simple ‘thank you’ and a nice reception goes a long way. Vendors on the other hand are a little different. While they may charge the organization a fee for their service, their fee is often reduced drastically – sometimes they even provide the service for free. Their support goes a long way and is often instrumental to helping deliver services.
The saying is, “People may not remember what you say but they will always remember how you made them feel.” Expressing genuine gratitude does not cost the organization one penny but it does save, and raise, a lot of money and move people to want to do more!
There you have it, two things every non-profit board member can do to make a positive impact on clients, volunteers and vendors. Do you have any stories about your service on a non-profit board or interacting with their board members? Do tell!