There are many reasons to join a nonprofit board. In today’s modern, Millennial-run philanthropic landscape, people are more committed to charitable causes and giving. While in the past this hasn’t always meant that people will actually become involved, it’s now become a sort of given that adults with the time to give should be giving, whether through volunteering, donating, or joining a board. This mentality has resulted in many people becoming involved with charities for the right reasons, but it has also given rise to something else: the “LinkedIn board member.”
A quick Google search for “reasons to join a nonprofit board” brings back the typical answers one might expect to see: a chance to become involved with an organization you’re passionate about, a chance to work on a professional team, and, of course, the chance to boost your resume. It’s this last one that starts to veer into LinkedIn board member territory. A LinkedIn board member is someone who joins a nonprofit board solely for the credibility, networking opportunities, and résumé padding this position provides.
LinkedIn board members aren’t emotionally attached to a nonprofit or its mission. They typically aren’t as engaged as other board members because they simply don’t care about the outcomes or strategic vision of an organization. Instead, they are there to make a name for themselves. Other signifiers of a LinkedIn board member include:
Right off the bat, the easiest way not to become a LinkedIn board member is to always join a nonprofit board for the right reasons. LinkedIn board members have a reputation for being unengaged and emotionally distant from a nonprofit because they don’t care deeply enough about the mission and value the nonprofit is providing. If you’re ready to join a nonprofit board, make sure you’re ready for the commitment and expectations. Nonprofit board members guide the strategic direction of nonprofit organizations, which makes their emotional connection that much more critical.
Once you’ve asked yourself these questions, you should have a better idea of how you emotionally connect with an organization. While nonprofit boards offer amazing opportunities for networking and professional development, this shouldn’t be the main reason you join a board. When the mission comes first, everything else will come easier down the road.
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