Junior boards allow organizations to supplement their boards’ skills while training young professionals in leadership and board governance.
Nonprofit organizations need a strong board of directors to aid in decision-making. This requires recruiting members who have a wealth of experience and rich connections. But finding experienced board members who are willing to dedicate years of service to nonprofits proves challenging.
As a result, many organizations start nonprofit junior boards, or young professional boards. Junior boards for nonprofits allow organizations to supplement their boards’ skills while training young professionals in leadership and board governance so they can transition to the board when the time is right.
What is a Young Professionals Board?
A junior board includes professionals younger than 35 who are focused and dedicated to supporting a nonprofit’s mission. Broadly, this body is responsible for reaching out to individuals in the same age group and offering opportunities for them to get involved. The junior board supplements the board of directors by creating and managing events, volunteering, and fundraising.
How is a Junior Board Different From a Board of Directors?
The main difference between a board of directors and a young professionals board is that the junior board does not have governance responsibility or voting power. They merely serve in an advisory capacity to supplement the board of directors.
Typical young board committees include volunteer coordination, marketing, events, and membership. Common board of director committees are governance, finance, executive, and fundraising.
4 Things to Consider Before Creating a Nonprofit Junior Board
Starting a junior board comes with many benefits, but you must decide whether it’s an endeavor your organization can handle. Consider the following.
1. Availability of Financial Resources
Nonprofits operate with limited financial resources. They’re always working hard to cut unnecessary expenses and invest in programs that affect the community. Therefore, starting another body that likely needs funding to operate may not be possible.
Analyze your cash flows and determine whether your organization can support a junior board. The junior board budget may include event funds, marketing materials, and more.
2. Coordination of Junior Board
A junior board understands its responsibilities and how it should contribute to the organization’s success. They’re typically young, energetic professionals who have the intrinsic capacity to lead.
However, you’ll need a few people to help build and launch a junior board. They will help create the board’s framework, from recruiting to board meetings and more. Consider whether your organization includes people who have the capacity to take on this important role.
3. Junior Board Plan of Action
As you prepare to launch your junior board, you must have a clear action plan, which includes measurable expectations for your board. Whether increasing awareness, raising funds, or volunteering in the community, creating and communicating these expectations streamlines your junior board’s operations.
4. Training for Your Junior Board
Remember, you’re nurturing the young board members to assume leadership roles in the future. Therefore, you need to ensure they’re highly informed about the industry and how they can further the organization’s mission.
Do you have a training program in place for them? You’ll want them to learn your organization’s inner workings, as well as more about the industry at large. Consider whether you have the internal and external resources needed to train a young professionals board.
What Changed for Boards in 2021?
General Responsibilities for Young Boards
Junior board responsibilities vary across organizations. However, there are some common expectations that a young professional board is expected to meet in almost every organization. Some of these responsibilities include:
- Appealing to young generations
- Volunteering for different activities
- Introducing new and efficient technologies
- Coordinating and undertaking online fundraising activities
- Networking with other nonprofits and donors
- Cultivating long-term relationships in the community
- Raising organization awareness through social media platforms
Young Professionals Board Frequently Asked Questions
Get answers to common questions regarding nonprofit junior boards.
What is the time commitment for serving a young professional board?
The time commitment for serving on a young board of directors varies from one organization to the next. However, young board members should ensure they have enough time for regular meetings at a minimum. There could be term limits to meet, and other requirements outlined by the board of directors.
What’s the process of joining a junior board?
To join a junior board, find an organization looking for members that align with your values and interests. There’s typically an application and interview process before being invited to serve.
What are the benefits for young professionals?
While being on a junior board is about serving the organization and community, it also provides these benefits:
- Teamwork and leadership skills
- Experience working in philanthropy
- Career advancement opportunities
Manage Your Nonprofit Junior Board With OnBoard
As you plan to launch your junior board, board management software such as OnBoard can enhance this high-tech group’s efficiency, effectiveness, and success. Remember, Millennials and Gen Z are digital-first generations of leaders who are interested in critical matters focused on moving the organization forward rather than time-consuming and laborious paperwork.
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