I see a lot of people talking about being on the board or jr board of NPOs - can someone explain how to achieve this? What level of commitment is required? Is it volunteer work? How to get started?

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I volunteered extensively in a field I was passionate about (community, financial literacy, pro bono) and through searching/network had the chance to join the junior board of a nonprofit.

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Complicated story but I was prelaw in undergrad but decided against it. Didn’t know anyone when I moved to NYC tho so I joined one of the local bar associations and they were running a pro bono clinic.

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I’m curious because everyone talks about it as if it’s super commonplace and easy to do but what does it take? Do you just email an organization whose mission you believe in asking to be on their board? Or do you have to volunteer with them first?

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You usually have to be a volunteer for some time first

There are a few ways. Build out a relationship with the nonprofit by being an active volunteer for at least a few months before broaching the topic.

Some boards allow you to apply directly and if you have a valuable skill set (finance, law, technical, marketing, fundraising) then you can skip the first path. Also helps if you have a valuable network (undergrad prestige, workplace prestige). This is what I did (technical skill set, good company, top Ivy undergrad).

Or you can have enough money to make a substantive donation.

Level of commitment is minimum one 1-2 hour meeting every quarter. Although there may be committee meetings in between board meetings and there may be very long annual planning meetings once a year. There are also fundraising events and volunteer events you may have to attend.

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Thank you for your detailed answer! This clears up a LOT... here I was thinking it takes a lot more effort than it does! If it’s so easy, why does it help admission chances as much as it does :/ seems like people could just find an easy nonprofit and spend an hour a month on it just for the application process and not because they care about making a difference

I’m glad that’s the case then, and yeah that is a good point

It was a core part of my application and I think it helped me get into S. Def was not my work experience 😅

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