Dating before marriage analogy to volunteerism

Friday’s Financial Times has an article about joining nonprofit boards. PMD definitely recommends this process of getting to know the organization, its strengths, its needs, and your potential roles BEFORE you sign on for a 3+ year commitment.

Just as you generally shouldn’t propose marriage on the first date, I recommend that you don’t suggest joining our board until you’ve gotten to know us beyond our web presence. With the demise of effective board fairs, it seems like it is difficult to find appropriate board candidates (and dates) in Boston.

It starts with determining whether an organization’s mission and vision are in line with your values and motivations. Then one should volunteer/visit and engage in a “courtship” process.

PMD would be happy to court you for its board once you indicate genuine knowledge and interest. We are currently seeking a clerk and board directors.

Let’s switch focus from 3-year board governance commitments to hands-on volunteering: Although the tide is slowly turning, most charities still expect people to “marry” (i.e., volunteer hands-on) for 6 months or more without much courtship. PMD’s diverse array of one-time “speed dating” (i.e., hands-on volunteering) opportunities serves to help give people a sense of the culture, people, cause, etc. We’ve lost volunteers to ongoing commitments to some of our recipient charities, and we’ve also gained recipient charities from our volunteers who “play the field.”

These are folks who prefer not to settle down with helping just one charity. With PMD, they won’t be bored with the same volunteer activity week after week.

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