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November 16, 2011

I am often asked by friends and colleagues about how many Boards should they join? Or more to the point—how many Boards are too many?  Unfortunately, there is no magic formula to assist in answering this question.  Nevertheless, an individual’s ability to be a well-informed, conscientious and overall “good Board member” is directly linked to this question.  

The bottom line is this—do not take on more than you can handle (a good rule to follow in life).  If you find yourself consistently missing an organizations’ Board meetings or committee meetings, then you have likely taken on too much and are doing more harm than good for the organization.  Choose your Board participation wisely and don’t be afraid to say “no”.  Trust me, if the organization is crafty enough, it will find a way to keep you involved at some level — and when the time is right, you are then in a great position to express your interest in a Board position. 

Some individuals tell me they like a mixture of non-profit, and paid board positions (great if you can get them).  Regardless, of how one manages their board service, every potential Board member needs to ask themselves the following question when being recruited for a Board:  how does this board service fit with the other parts of my life (family, work, other interests/activities etc.)?  Some thoughtful time answering that question should lead to the right answer.

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