Jessie Singer

Priceless Board Members

posted by
Jessie Singer
Executive Director,
American Lung Association
in California

A philanthropist recently asked me, knowing that I’d be looking for new Board Members soon, what types of people I was in need of. He mentioned business CEOs, lawyers, university presidents, HR professionals, marketing gurus, etc. etc. As I sat there and thought for a moment, waiting for one/all of those to jump out at me, I realized that none did. There is something I am looking for in a perfect Board Member that no one can buy (with any financial amount), it’s not something that is needed in a certain type of position nor is it a certain skillset. I am seeking a Board Member who has passion.

Some Board Members can give lots of money, whether it be their own or that from their company, and come with tremendous financial support. Other Board Members feel that their knowledge base or background is sufficient because they are bringing new skills to the organization. The best Board Members, in my opinion, are the ones who bring passion about the nonprofit’s mission and are willing to share this with others.

Sharing passion is something that you can not equate to any financial amount. These Board Members can make introductions to companies, open doors to new sponsors and recruit top-notch volunteers. They do this by sharing their connection to the organization with others and once their passion oozes, it’s hard to stop this contagious feeling. People want to be around others doing great things, right? Well then send these Board Members out in the community because people like hearing from volunteers sharing a story, rather than a staff member pitching for money.

Recruiting New Board Members? Here’s how our geographically-focused nonprofit does it!

posted by
Jessie Singer,
Executive Director
Dysart Community Center

Being an Executive Director of a small organization, I often get asked how I recruit board members and where I find them. I think my tactics can be applicable for any geographically-based nonprofit, a start-up organization, or any smaller nonprofit seeking new members.

When I am seeking new board members I start with our own volunteer base. I sit down with the Board President and Volunteer Coordinator to identify those individuals who are going above and beyond their volunteer duties, are passionate about our mission, and have proven to the staff that they are committed to our organization. These are the individuals who often express their gratitude to the staff every time they stop in, they walk in with a huge smile on their face, act as a community advocate, and believe in our mission. These are the unsung heroes of the organization that deserve to have a larger role because they are exactly the type of board member that you want.

Bringing “NOW Generation” Leaders to the Forefront

posted by
Jessie Singer,
Executive Director
Dysart Community Center

As a proud young nonprofit professional in the Phoenix valley, I believe it's important to remember that age is not a qualifying factor in one’s professional abilities. I can testify that, on behalf of my young peers, we are investing in ourselves through professional development opportunities and networking, and many of us even share common higher education degrees. We are a group of individuals that have passion, motivation, and competencies to succeed, and we don’t let age get in our way.

When the younger generations start to enter into nonprofit executive roles, it is up to us, the leaders of the “now” and the “future,” to show the more experienced individuals what we are made of. We bring innovative solutions to community’s toughest problems. Long gone are the days of “Oh, you’re too young for that” or, my favorite, “How cute, you’re trying so hard!”

Being a young nonprofit Executive Director with minimal nonprofit leadership experience, I have entered the sector this year and have found a new home. I love being in the nonprofit industry and have found my forever place helping those in need. I may be young, but I have already started to move mountains! How important is age anyway if I have the passion and drive to succeed?