How do I get on a non-profit board? When is the right time? How do I know if the board is the right fit for me?

So – you have decided to take the step up to become a director on a non-profit board. What are some steps that you can take to prepare yourself for your journey?

As I shared in an earlier post, the journey to becoming a director can be daunting. Any career change requires us to reinvent our identities. It frequently takes a lot longer than we expect. It requires us to take risks, try new things, meet new people, and experiment with things we have not done before.

Further, the path to becoming a director and getting your first board role can be pretty opaque. In addition, there is no set nor linear pattern. Everyone’s path to directorship is unique.

I recently spoke to Farhana Mahbub, Toronto Chapter Board Chair of Women in Leadership Foundation. I shared insights on identifying the right boards to join, deciphering personal fit and timing, as well as figuring out the skills matrix one can tap into.

Here are three of key tips that I shared with Farhana:

  • ️The earlier you can get involved with not-for-profits, the better. This will allow you to broaden your skills quickly
  • ️Being a board member is learning to be a team player. Get familiar and comfortable with group dynamics
  • ️Think about the industry(s) you specialise in, and the technical skills or experience with geographical markets you can contribute. This is especially key for commercial boards


Keen to learn more about how do you get on a non-profit board? Read some of my thoughts here.