May 29, 2014

by Cheryl Hartwick

 Board recruitment – the second big lie

A couple of weeks ago I discussed the lie of perspective board members not needing to know anything prior to consideration of joining a board of directors. I suggested that you really should know, at least a little bit, of what the organization stands for and what services it provides.

Another question that the perspective director may ask is, “What do I have to do?” or “What are my duties/responsibilities?” The answer to that question is often – “Nothing much really – just one meeting/month – it isn’t really too time consuming.” That is definitely another lie.

According to various policies and legal standards regarding volunteer boards of not-for-profit agencies, the roles of directors are to manage senior staff, participate in strategic planning initiatives, and develop and implement corporate policies. This means working within federal and provincial government standards, so it is necessary to have an understanding of social policy.

The truth is, directors should be prepared to commit some time to activities other than just monthly meetings. A director may be expected to: participate on standing or ad-hoc committees; chair other committees; volunteer at fundraisers and promotional events; participate in letter writing campaigns; be aware of social policies that affect the organization; advocate on behalf of the organization for government funding; discuss and “talk-up” the organization in the community

Directors are expected to act in the best interest of the organization with competence (skill) and diligence and boards often require competency in specific areas (legal, public relations, human resources, employee relations, negotiations, communications – just to name a few).

It is not my intention to scare people away from volunteering as a director; my hope in divulging these two truths is to illustrate the importance of the role and to encourage community-minded people to volunteer for Land O’ Lakes Community Services. Become a member of the organization and maybe join a committee to learn more about what is offered.

Come out to the AGM on June 16 at the Lions Hall in Northbrook and/or call 613-336-8934 to learn more.

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