The secret’s out:
Junior boards are no longer the exception to the rule. More and more often, they’re becoming a necessary part of nonprofits’ strategic advancement. And, all relevant stakeholders should pay attention.
Nonprofits need this group of young professionals to help them reach more youthful markets and to keep their message fresh. Businesses with corporate social responsibility programs connect their employees to the junior boards at partnering nonprofits. And, young professionals take advantage of junior boards’ opportunities to sharpen their skills and network with business and community leaders.
In fact, junior boards offer young professionals unique opportunities to enhance their professional skills in ways that their regular jobs don’t. If their employer volunteer programs don’t offer connections to junior boards, young professionals should read these four compelling reasons why they should seek out opportunities to join them on their own.
Millennials make up a large part of individuals who serve on junior boards. Known for their passionate drive to advance the common good, their savvy social media skills, and their great ability to network, these young professionals have a thirst to add value to their resumes; volunteering on junior boards is a perfect way to add that value. By joining a junior board, Associate Director of OAI CJ Orr notes that young professionals will show potential employers that they are community leaders. Furthermore, it shows that they are connected to multiple other business and community leaders, which can be very attractive to a possible boss.
Provides Mentorship Opportunities
While junior boards do not hold any decision-making power within nonprofit organizations, most are connected to the governing board in some way. Nonprofits’ governing boards typically consist of community leaders who have decades of experience in nonprofit management, business, fundraising, strategic development, and more. Some junior boards attend governing board meetings periodically, while other junior boards have an assigned governing board member attend regular junior board meetings. These formal strategic meetings, in conjunction with other social functions, offer valuable mentoring opportunities to junior board members who desire to grow personally and professionally.
Connects Like-Minded Young Professionals
When people join junior boards, they are looking for something to challenge their skills and intellects (while they advance the common good, of course). Being around a group of young professionals with the same goal provides the perfect foundation for some major growth to happen. Often times, junior boards are tasked with solving problems or establishing connections that the governing board hasn’t addressed yet; the junior board has the exciting opportunity to think creatively and solve the issue in a unique way. Participating in a junior board will likely challenge and stimulate its members’ minds in unprecedented ways.
Develops Leadership Skills
Volunteering on a junior board gives people a fantastic opportunity to develop leadership skills and hone other professional skills. Junior board members will be responsible for organizing large fundraising events, which will require them to network with local business and community leaders and challenge them to “sell” the organization. Junior board members will be challenged to speak publicly at large events or even to local media. Finally, junior board members will exercise their networking skills, as they develop a nexus of community-minded and respected leaders.
Junior boards can be a terrific steppingstone for young professionals who envision themselves sitting on a governing board, but who are currently too young or lack the necessary experience. Volunteering on a junior board will provide members with the experience and mentorship needed to transition them smoothly to a governing board seat someday.
Individuals interested in pursuing a junior board seat can begin by checking out www.volunteermatch.org and entering “junior board” in the keyword search.
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