Let’s be honest. The last 15 months have been hard. On everyone. And while we begin to reunite with family and colleagues, many of us are still feeling disconnected, trying to find our new normal, and facing burnout. As we’re making sense of it all, we’re trying to find our “why” while also trying to find confidence in a world that has changed.
I’ll let you in on a secret. It’s time for employers to embrace nonprofit board service programs. This is the post-pandemic triple win. Nonprofit board service provides employees with opportunities to make a difference in their community, find a sense of purpose, develop and practice leadership skills, and strengthen project management skills. It’s good for employees, companies and the community. And, it is predicted to emerge as an important trend over the next year.
Nonprofit Board Service is Good for Employees
Numerous studies demonstrate the mental and physical health benefits of volunteering, from reducing stress to feeing happy. And, employees find even greater value and report higher levels of skill development when their volunteer assignments involve applying their professional skills.
In fact, 92% of surveyed corporate human resources executives said that contributing business skills and expertise to a nonprofit can be an effective way to improve employees’ leadership and broader professional skill sets. Similarly, employees say their nonprofit board experience makes them better leaders (80%), more confident (77%) and feel more useful (71%). It’s no wonder HR and corporate social responsibility departments are viewing nonprofit board service as strategic opportunities for talent development.
Nonprofit Board Service is Good for Companies
We all know that employees want purposeful work and for their employer to care about the community. In fact, 74% of US employees and 88% of millennials feel their job is more fulfilling when they are provided opportunities to make a positive impact on social or environmental issues. Companies are listening, and for most, community involvement has become an important business strategy for employee retention.
Do you what else nonprofit board service is good for? Building a more inclusive workforce. Board members report that board service increases their appreciation of perspectives from those with different backgrounds (83%) and deepens their understanding of the challenges people face (76%). At work, they listen more carefully to different views (78%), create more inclusive committees and teams (63%), and make more inclusive hiring (50%) and promotion (41%) decisions. Let’s do more of this.
Nonprofit Board Service is Good for the Community
There are 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the United States. Many have experienced a decline in net income and fees for programs and services, while others plan to eliminate current programs and services. They are our food pantries, community centers, blood banks and animal shelters.
Nonprofit organizations are revisiting their mission and vision in a post-pandemic context, recovering financially and building capacity to extend their reach and impact. Their boards need members who are strategic thinkers, problem solvers and passionate about the cause. This complex, important work will require leadership, skills and experiences from variety of industries, including yours.
As your company and employees transition to the “new normal”, consider the triple win of nonprofit board service to strengthen your company, team and community. As Ann Merkel, Senior Vice President & Chief Market Development Officer, describes, “Encouraging nonprofit board service is just one way The National Bank of Indianapolis lives out our commitment to the Greater Indianapolis community. We know that our employees’ time and talents strengthen the nonprofit organizations that, in turn, make our community stronger. We know our employees value the opportunity to give back to the causes they care about the most. Greater Indianapolis is our home and volunteering is one way that we live out our core value of civic leadership.”
Erin Hedges is the founder and President of Hedges, a consulting firm focused on strengthening Central Indiana’s philanthropic sector through cross-sector solutions. Hedges is launching Lead with Purpose, a new training series to equip individuals for effective nonprofit board service. More information about Lead with Purpose can be found here.