Did you know there are 454 registered non-profit organizations in Lethbridge and area? This Saturday, May 6th, 100 people will gather at the Lethbridge Multicultural Centre to become better non-profit board members. The event is called ‘Board Leadership Lethbridge’ and is the product of months of planning by a group of people from various organizations in Lethbridge. There will be a range of topics to learn about, including strategic planning, board governance, the role of the board, bylaws, policies and procedures, financial responsibility, liability and risk management, social media and volunteer recruitment.
The organizations represented at the inaugural Board Leadership Lethbridge is diverse. There will be representation from Sport and Recreation, Arts and Culture, Human Services, Nature and Environmental groups, Service clubs and more. These people are citizens who are committed to making their communities and organizations a better place, and we need them in our society.
As much as we need people to serve on non-profit boards, the time spent can be just as valuable to the individual. Here are a just a few of the benefits you may find.
1. You will meet interesting people. The people who sit on boards made the choice to get off the bench and get in the game. Hopefully, the board you sit on is made up of a diverse group of people, from a range of backgrounds, with a variety of talents. You won’t all agree all of the time, but hearing all the viewpoints in the room, and building connections with those people will make you a better person.
2. You will learn new skills (the kind that look good on a resume). Of course, the specifics will depend on the kind or organization, the staff and resources at the board's disposal, and even the kind of board (yes, there are many varieties, including policy boards and operational boards). You might sharpen some computer skills when you have to put together a spreadsheet of registrants for an event, or perhaps learn to use a program to streamline volunteer sign-ups. You’ll learn some new accounting lingo, and perhaps a few of ‘Robert’s Rules’. Many board members lead or assist a team in planning an event, and you may get the opportunity to strengthen your leadership skills.
3. You will feel good about the work you are doing. Non-profit organizations rely on volunteer board members, and quite literally, couldn’t operate without them. Serving on a board will make that organization part of who you are, and vice versa.
If you are interested in learning more about Board Leadership Lethbridge, you can visit their website (boardleadershiplethbridge.ca) or like their Facebook page to stay up to date on next year’s event. In the meantime, Lethbridge is very fortunate to have so many people willing to trade in their Saturday for a day of learning, which will make them better board members, and in turn, will make the organizations that support our community stronger too.
In Lethbridge, most of the sport organizations are run by non-profit boards, filled with volunteers just like you, who made the choice to get off the bench. If you are interested in volunteering in this capacity, you can start by contacting the Lethbridge Sport Council at 403-320-9371. Likewise, volunteering is a component of Lethbridge 2017: Get Active Through Sport, an initiative from the Lethbridge Sport Council celebrating Canada’s 150 anniversary of confederation. If you are looking for a volunteer opportunity in sport, visit our website for opportunities. Alternately, if you are from a sport organization, and you are looking to recruit volunteers for board positions or otherwise, please let us know, we’d love to help. Full details can be found at www.lethbridge2017.ca (sorry, website no longer available)
- Tanya Whipple
Originally published in the Lethbridge Herald May 5th, 2017