How contributing to the community has helped my business grow!

Article contribution by Alicia Curtis

Have you considered giving your time and expertise on the board of a community organisation?

There are many ways you can give back – through giving your time, skills, networks and donation.  I want to share the benefits of being a board director of a community (not-for-profit) organisation.  A board director is appointed or elected to support a community organisation to achieve it’s mission.

You might think that volunteering in the community will just take time that you probably don’t have but there are a range of benefits that you might not be aware of.   I’ve been a small business owner of a training and development business for the past 15 years now and I can confidently say that my involvement as a volunteer board director has positively impacted my business.

Board directors work together to define the organisation’s vision, mission and values, set the strategic direction, ensure the organisation is meeting it’s financial and legal duties, appoint and monitor a CEO, develop the financial resources of the organisation, improve the organisations’ reputation and ensure they are working effectively as a board.

So how can this support you in your business?

Five Ways Being a Board Director Can Help your Business

  1. Be inspired and energised by a cause bigger than yourself.

Getting involved in a cause that’s bigger than yourself can be hugely energising.   You might be able to meet the recipients of the organisation you serve and this can be an energising experience to know that your volunteering is making a difference to others whether it be the homeless, elderly, children, animals or the environment, to name a few.  Bring that energy and inspiration back into your business!

2. Contribute to your skill set

You can contribute your skills and knowledge and expand them through working in this different context.  Often we can get comfortable in our own businesses as there might not be anyone directly challenging us.  A board gives you a way to enhance your strengths.  Boards oversee a range of issues such as strategy, governance, marketing, fundraising, performance and finances.  This gives you exposure to new strategies, tools and resources.

3. Expand your networks

Watch your networks expand.  You will not only make great connections with your fellow board directors who will probably all come from different industries, backgrounds and experiences.  You will expand your networks through fundraising, dealing with the media and getting to know other stakeholders.

4. Work together as a team

If you work as a solo entrepreneur, a Board can be a great opportunity to work in a team.  Often your fellow Board members can become great friends and colleagues.   It’s also exciting to review how you work within a team and aim to improve personally as well as improve the performance of the board as a whole.

5. Increase your reputation

There is an opportunity to enhance your brand and reputation through being appointed onto a board.   It gives you a great opportunity to share with you suppliers, clients and networks about a cause that close to your heart and improve relationships.

Hold up – before you join a board!

Don’t get me wrong, board positions are not to be taken on lightly as you must be willing to make a dedicated commitment which does mean between 5 – 15 hours per month usually.   You must also make the right decision as to which board to join and perform your due diligence before accepting any position. 

Due diligence aside, volunteering as a board director can be hugely fulfilling.  Whether it be on a local community organisation, your industry association board, a government board or advocacy organisation, the benefits can be rich and wide-ranging.  Good luck on your board director journey!

About your guest blogger:  Alicia Curtis is an award-winning speaker and facilitator specialising in leadership, diversity and philanthropy.  Her business Alyceum ignites leaders to transform the world for the better.  In 2016, Alicia co-authored the book, Difference Makers: A Leader’s Guide to Championing Diversity on Boards.