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3 things to consider before you accept that voluntary board role


22 July 2022 at 3:20 pm
Isabelle Oderberg
Considering how joining a board in a volunteer capacity will affect your time and skills is an important consideration before you sign on the dotted line. 


Isabelle Oderberg | 22 July 2022 at 3:20 pm


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3 things to consider before you accept that voluntary board role
22 July 2022 at 3:20 pm

Considering how joining a board in a volunteer capacity will affect your time and skills is an important consideration before you sign on the dotted line. 

You’ve been offered a role sitting on a for-purpose organisation’s board. Maybe it’s a social enterprise. Maybe it’s a charity. Either way, the role involves your time, energy, use of your expertise and you won’t be paid. Should you do it? As you might expect, this is not an easy question to answer. Here are three things to consider before you accept.  

  1. Time commitment 

The first question you need to ask is the number of hours they expect in terms of commitment. This means both contact hours (for instance, attending meetings) and non-contact hours (reading, preparing documents or the like), which you can do in your own time. You must assess whether these hours are something you can commit to without putting stress on yourself or upsetting your work-life balance. 

  1. Legal responsibilities

The next step is establishing your legal responsibilities. Are you responsible for finances? Is it a board role or sitting on a sub-committee? Is it an advisory body? This is important both so that you know what you’re signing up for, but also so you know whether you have the qualifications to do the job. 

  1. Turning this into an opportunity for yourself

While it might be clear what you are bringing to the organisation on whose board you are sitting, you also have to ask how having this role might expand your own experience. Will you be gaining new skills? Will training in any particular area be offered? Will you perhaps be sitting alongside other people you admire? How does this bolster your CV and fit with your existing professional profile? 

 

Having a seat at a boardroom table can seem like a really good idea. However if you’re not prepared for what you’re signing up for, it can all end in tears. Take the time, do the prep, go in with your eyes wide open.  


Isabelle Oderberg  |  @ProBonoNews

Isabelle joined as the editor of Pro Bono Australia after working as a journalist and media and communications professional for over two decades.

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