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Why Do You Serve on this Board?

“I believe in the mission.”

“I’ll do anything for the kids.”

“I love kids.” (multiple Board members stated this)

“I’m an advocate for children.”

“I want to learn how I can better help children.”

“I want to provide information for families in the community.”

“I just want to help.”

Imagine a nonprofit Board of Directors (Governing Board Members) that provide the above responses when asked the question, “What’s your motivation for serving on this Board?”

What wonderful and heart-warming responses – no one can argue or dispute that these motivations aren’t noble and worthy – surely they are.   There’s only one problem, I’m not sure if these self-proclaimed noble and worthy motivations are enough.

Now, imagine this is a Board that has an expectation of raising money, attending events, and being advocates for the organization.  The vast majority are not fulfilling the minimum expectations.  So what does this really mean about their motivations??

  • I believe in the mission, but not enough to raise money to support it.
  • I’ll do anything for the kids except attend events and serve as a “voice” for the “voiceless”.
  • I just want to help, as long as it’s in my comfort zone.
  • I want to learn how I can better help children, as long as helping them doesn’t include work on my behalf.

Of course I’m being facetious because I, nor you, can speak to another person’s motivation.  I believe they care and I believe they’re concerned.   I can only observe their actions, and that causes me to question their commitment.  So my advice to this and all the other imaginary Boards that may have this challenge is simply this, “Your displayed actions speak louder than your proclaimed motivations.”  Board service requires more than talking the talk – we have to walk the walk.  Here’s a truism regarding “real” Board service:  Some care enough to talk about it, some are concerned enough to think about it, but few are committed enough to do it.  We need you to do it.  Why do you serve on this Board????




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