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Your Board. Your Story.

Most of the time when we meet someone, socially or professionally, one of the first questions that comes up is "What do you do, and where do you work?" The response to that question often defines us. I thought about that when I read "BRAND OR DIE," Nick Nanton's and JW Dicks' great new blogpost.

So what if the next time you meet someone, you could tell them something more than what you do for a living. What if you could tell them where you serve on a nonprofit board. That would add an entire new dimension to how the other person thinks about you. Even better, what if you chose the board of an organization that you really care about, where you are learning about an important social or global issue, and where you are making a difference. It would be a great story, tell a lot about you, and chances are, your face would give away your enthusiasm.

Yes, the key is going onto a nonprofit board where you will care, learn, add value, and have a meaningful experience.

When I work with business executives and professionals to match them to nonprofit boards, my role is to listen to their story, get a sense of what they value, and usher the person through a process to find the board that will be personally rewarding, and where the nonprofit will gain the talent and commitment that the board needs. For the candidate, the right board match is the beginning of a new chapter in the person's life.

In following up with the candidates I've placed, sometimes for as long as fifteen years, I've seen amazing personal growth and satisfaction, and leadership development. In fact, many of the candidates have become board chairs, and recruited and mentored many other board members.

As a corporate social responsibility (CSR) consultant, my role is to help the company define itself in terms of the story it wants to tell, and to create partnerships with nonprofits based on mutual goals and values. Together, companies and nonprofits engage to achieve a common purpose, sharing their story about how they are making the world a better place.

As you build your personal brand, as well as your company's, you can do a lot of good for the world. It will make a great story.

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  • Alice Korngold

    Nick and JW, thank you for your comment! Means a lot coming from you. I love your blog and posts!

    Anan, important and thoughtful question. Because board commitments do take time and can be distractions from work and family when those are pressing priorities. It varies, but usually people think about nonprofit boards when they are in their late 30's or early 40's, and have achieved enough success in their careers, and financially, to be ready to participate on boards. But this is very individual, especially in this economy. For some people, the time for boards comes later in life. In the meantime, there are many other ways to volunteer that require less of a commitment, but also add value and are also meaningful.

  • Anan Alwanni

    Alice, In your experience at what time/age people allocate their time or some of it to support and work for non profit orgs ? I really wanna do that but no time due to work commitments.