If your question isn’t answered here, feel free to email us at RustandyCenter@ChicagoBooth.edu.

You can read more about these different board types in the “Finding and Joining a Board” section of the guide.

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Most boards require a commitment of five to 10 hours a month, though it varies. Be sure to ask what the time commitment is when you are considering joining a board. The level of commitment increases if you take on a committee leadership role or officer role (treasurer, board chair, etc.). Those positions can require up to 20 to 40 hours a month.

Don’t commit to more than you can handle. Ask questions about expectations before you join a board, and be clear about your work commitments (traveling, last-minute client demands, etc.). Also, be honest with your employer about your new commitment. Most employers will like the fact that you are getting involved in the community. Be sure to add it to your resume, especially if you are job hunting.

Generally, it is good to stay with a board for a few years (and not hop from board to board). With that said, if it’s not a good fit or you have a life change that warrants adjusting your commitments, you should leave the same way you would a job: by being honest and clear with the board chair and staff and leaving on good terms.

  • Ask your company if they have giving or matching programs.
  • Start a letter writing/email/website campaign that targets your family, friends, colleagues, or network for donations (if you choose this option, the organization should be able to help facilitate the process and the tracking of the contributions). 
  • Host a dinner party or other social event with an admission fee that benefits the organization.
  • Plan creative, ad hoc events such as hosting a “Jeans Day” at your company (employees pay $5 to wear jeans to work) or running a race in honor of the organization.

If you live in Chicago or Hong Kong, you may be eligible to apply to the Rustandy Center’s Alumni Board Connect or Board Connect programs. In Chicago, Alumni Board Connect matches alumni interested in serving on nonprofit boards with organizations looking to add new board members. In Hong Kong, all business professionals are eligible to apply to the Board Connect program.

The On Board conference on nonprofit board service is also held in Chicago, Hong Kong, and New York City. This event brings together Booth alumni, nonprofit leaders, and business professionals to connect and learn about key trends and insights in nonprofit board governance and strategy. On Board is also a great opportunity to meet nonprofits looking to grow their boards of directors.

If you don’t live in a city where Alumni Board Connect or On Board is offered, you can apply to be an On Board Ambassador. As an Ambassador, you will receive a free ticket to the conference, as well as discounted hotel accommodations. Email RustandyCenter@ChicagoBooth.edu to learn more about the On Board Ambassadors program.

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