Reflections on BLF14: Post #7 – Engaging Millennials in Board Service

Reflections on 2014 Board Leadership Forum, submitted by Carrie Minnich. This is the second of  several reviews by Carrie.

GOB Washington
The GOB in front of the Washington Monument. Carrie Minnich is standing on the right.

Designing the Board You Want with Millennials in Mind  (Annette Cousins, Bill Martin)

Given the mission of the Get on Board Committee, to train, connect, and support emerging leaders and the nonprofits they wish to serve, I was interested in learning how a partnership in Richmond, Virginia between the Partnership for Nonprofit Excellence (PNE) and the Valentine Richmond History Center was engaging millennials in board service.

The Board Immersion Program was administered through PNE.  Six individuals, primarily young professionals, participated in the program through an application process. The application process included an interview and a $50 fee paid to PNE.

As part of the program, the 6 individuals chosen shadowed the Valentine board for one year, attended board meetings, participated in committees, co-led strategic planning groups, and contributed financially to the Valentine Richmond History Center.

At the end of the year, the Valentine found board members to be more engaged with new energy and perspectives.

They also found that insight into the next generation was key in their strategic planning. The program participants were able to gain access to experienced leaders and see how decisions are made. They also found that they had greater confidence and increased ability in expressing their opinions. None of the participants of the program were asked to stay on as board members after the one year was up, although some continued as committee members.

Similar to Get on Board,

…this partnership is focused on engaging young people in board service; however, from the information provided, it sounded as more of an internship program. Get on Board goes further by providing training and resources for emerging leaders, to not only become familiar with board service but to actually be valuable board members, not just shadow board members. Nevertheless, the session spoke to the importance of engaging younger board members in nonprofit board service, which all nonprofit boards should be including in their succession planning.


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