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Taking Your Seat at the Table

Taking Your Seat at the Table

Get to know the responsibilities of joining a board.

Perhaps you’re a long-time supporter of a favored community organization and are interested in taking your involvement to the next level by joining its board of directors. Or maybe you’ve already been approached to join, but aren’t sure what will be expected of you in terms of time, money and other commitments. As with many great opportunities, serving on a board means taking on some responsibility, too.

Getting on Board

These factors and expectations are worth considering before you make a decision. How much of each are you willing and able to give?

Your Time

Most boards hold seven meetings a year, at about two to four hours each, according to BoardSource. On average, members serve two terms of three years each, and in general the position is unpaid – only 2% of the nonprofits surveyed offer an honorarium or salary for service.

Your Reputation

Conflicts of interest can get in the way of becoming a board member. For example, if you have a direct financial relationship to the nonprofit (such as being its landlord or legal counsel), serving can pose a risk. Each board member must put the interests of the organization before their own when acting on behalf of the board.

Your Financial Support

In a 2017 BoardSource survey, nearly 59% of nonprofits required a personal contribution. In addition, many board members were asked to provide names of potential donors and to meet with prospective donors face to face.

Your Expertise

Responsibilities can include fundraising, advocacy, community-building and outreach. Can your skillset help the institution raise funds or operate more efficiently? For example, if you run a successful marketing firm, the group might look to you to help lead marketing and public relations efforts.

Worth Considering

Is It a Fit?

Serving on a board should be a positive experience – so make sure your values align with those of the organization, as well as those of existing board members.

Above Board

You will officially be a steward of the organization’s resources and assets. If a nonprofit doesn’t pay enough in payroll taxes for its employees, for example, the IRS can hold the board negligent. To guard against this risk, ask about the group’s liability insurance and possibly secure your own as well.

Potential Perks

Serving on a board comes with its benefits, too:

  • Gain greater leverage to support a mission you care about
  • Network with professionals and like-minded individuals
  • Establish yourself as a leader in your community or field

Many Ways to Give

Whether board membership is the right choice for you, there are many ways to give back and get involved. As you weigh the benefits and considerations, your financial advisor is available to act as a sounding board – particularly for evaluating any financial implications that joining a board could have.



Sources:; Forbes;;; BoardSource, “Leading with Intent”

Raymond James does not provide legal advice. Please consult your legal professional for specific information regarding your individual situation.
Article provided by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc.
This information, developed by an independent third party, has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. This information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. The information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. This information is not intended as a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security referred to herein. Investments mentioned may not be suitable for all investors. The material is general in nature. Past performance may not be indicative of future results. Raymond James Financial Services,Inc. does not provide advice on tax, legal or mortgage issues. These matters should be discussed with the appropriate professional.
M18-2176849 Exp 7.12.21


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