5 Reasons for Emerging Leaders to Join an Arts Board

Yesterday, we explored the importance of having emerging leaders on nonprofit arts boards. In a nutshell, by recruiting YPs arts organizations bring diversity, a new perspective and innovative problem solving to their boards. On the other hand, it is also important to ask: what are the benefits of being a board member? Why should emerging leaders care? Here are five reasons  why I believe emerging leaders should serve on arts boards:

1. Leadership – Serving on an arts board (or any nonprofit board) gives young professionals an opportunity to exercise and broaden their leadership skills. By sitting on the board, emerging leaders practice strategic and critical thinking to make high level decisions for the organization, whether it’s beginning a new development program or creating a strategic plan.

2. Learning – Being a board member means you get to experience a 360-degree view of the entire organization. You get to learn about decision making processes for board governance, finance, or legal issues that you may not be aware of in your current workplace. When I joined my first board last year, I learned so much about nonprofit accounting, 990’s and financial reporting; now I read income statements and balance sheets with complete ease.

3. Professional Development – Being on a nonprofit arts board helps develop skills that you may not be able to utilize in your current work. When you join a board, you the opportunity to utilize your skill sets in specific “committees” or task forces. For example, I currently serve on a jazz nonprofit board where I am part of the development committee. I recently started an annual fund campaign for the organization, and was able to exercise my strategic fundraising skills. A win-win.

4. Networking – As a board member, you are able to establish valuable connections with industry, corporate, nonprofit and community leaders, strengthening your personal network. Who knows? You might find your next mentor in the mix or learn about news and events from other sectors and industries, further expanding your horizon.

5. Passion for Mission & Arts – Last but certainly not least, serving on an arts board is rewarding. You get to lend your time, guidance and expertise to a cause and mission you believe in, while being surrounded by artists and the creative community. You also have the opportunity to participate in advancing the overall arts landscape in your community. Through your board membership, you make an impact in your organization and community.

Like I mentioned in the previous blog post, only 2% of nonprofit board members are under the age of 30. It is imperative for emerging leaders to take their seats and make their voices heard. What are you waiting for? Start now!

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3 thoughts on “5 Reasons for Emerging Leaders to Join an Arts Board

  1. This is also true of other types of boards as well. Let me attempt to advance the conversation by saying that your point about networking is true, but doesn’t go far enough. 23 years ago I joined a nonprofit board to meet women and it worked. I’ve been married to her for 21 years now. Networking for social purposes works as well.

    Also, don’t undersell the fun part. While there is a lot of hard work for board members, especially fundraising when you don’t have a mature network, your time on the board can be very satisfying and just plain fun.

    • Absolutely! I agree that serving on a board can be fun, although one seems to forget that part once you dig into the work (especially if you’re on a small board).

      I just followed your blog – lots of good content about nonprofits!


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