Last Thursday we had our statewide NCCF Board of Directors meeting.  Preparing for these board and accompanying committee meetings always takes time and can be a bit anxiety-producing -- but the results are always so worth it.   Meeting with our board members always energizes us, and last week was no exception.

I was rushing my daughter off to school that morning, and think I was a teeny bit stressed as I said: “Hurry up!  I have a board meeting today!”  Lindsay then launched a series of questions about “what do you even do at a board meeting?” and if it was a “bored” meeting?  I floundered a bit, searching for the right words to express the importance and value of board meetings.  After all, our board is critical to our work. I assured her that our meetings are never boring, due to our directors’ full participation, lots of questions and lively discussion.

So what makes it such a strong group?   Our board takes their job very seriously and members are certainly familiar with all the areas of responsibility that go along with being on a nonprofit board. But I think it is what each one of them brings to the board personally that really makes the difference.

Recently I saw a list from BoardSource that outlines the responsibilities of nonprofit board members. But what I liked about their list is that they included some personal characteristics that are important:

Ability to listen, analyze, think clearly and creatively, work well with people individually and in a group.

The list also noted that it’s important to possess honesty, sensitivity to and tolerance of differing views; to be responsive; of course have personal integrity -- and a sense of humor never hurts anybody in nearly any situation!

One portion of our board meeting is set aside each quarter to allow different board member to share how they became involved with NCCF and why they stay involved.  It is always such a great way to gain a window into what motivates and drives people.  One of our board members shared the story of his involvement, and told us that although his father never talked directly to his children about his philanthropic efforts while growing up, “I learned the value of giving through watching him, his actions showed me how I could be philanthropic. He inspired me.”

What a lovely way to share this lesson.  I often talk about family members who inspired me to give back, and sometimes how these may be ones that you’d least expect, so this resonated so much with me.

Who inspired you to become philanthropic?  Where did you learn the value of giving back? I would love to hear from you, so please post a comment here on my blog, or send me an email.

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