Empower Your Employees to Serve on Nonprofit Boards
BoardLead is a nonprofit board service program for corporations and their employees. Through BoardLead, your employees utilize their leadership skills in new and meaningful ways by serving on a nonprofit board in their community.
Nonprofits seek diverse, talented, and trained board members employed by prestigious companies, professional services firms, and foundations. Board recruitment is a top priority for nonprofit organizations and a core responsibility of board members, but it isn’t easy. This is where Cause Strategy Partners comes in. We’ve designed the BoardLead program to help support this process by partnering with companies to place their employees on nonprofit boards.
Learn more about BoardLead:
BoardLead for Corporate Partners
BoardLead is built on four core principals in placing corporate professionals on nonprofit boards: leadership development, high expectation setting, passion alignment, and access to training and ongoing support.
Nonprofit organizations benefit when they are led by directors that are highly engaged and effective. The professionals we place want to “do good” for their community, and utilize their skills to add tangible value, build their professional networks, and develop their leadership prowess. Our corporate partners want to offer employees high-quality leadership development opportunities, engage them in meaningful community service, and help them expand their networks.
We set high expectations for both nonprofit partners and board candidates. Nonprofits are asked to engage board members in ways that capture the full breadth of what each individual has to offer. And board candidates are asked to commit to “The BoardLeader Way,” our definition of full board engagement.
Through the program, professionals are placed on boards of nonprofit organizations that resonate with their personal interests and passion, and that align with their readiness to meet board requirements.
BoardLead doubles-down on good governance training so that newly minted board members feel equipped to be meaningful contributors at the outset of their board term. We provide ongoing education, support, and leadership development resources. A strong board placement isn’t complete when a new board member is elected; rather, success happens when they add tangible value to the nonprofit’s pursuit of the mission. Ultimately, we aim for our BoardLeaders to move into leadership positions on their nonprofit board within 18 months.
Benefits of Nonprofit Board Service for Employees
For many of our corporate partners, the leadership development goals of BoardLead are often as important as the community engagement goals. Experiential leadership development opportunities like BoardLead provide professionals the opportunity to enhance learning in a “real world” operating environment, experience firsthand effective leadership demonstrated by peer board members, and bridge the gap between leadership theory and practice, all in a lower-stakes learning environment.
- Build relationships of high value within the community which are genuine and rooted in trust
- Learn from other leaders on the nonprofit board while applying their professional skills in different operating environments
- Hone management skills including financial oversight and government relations
- Develop cultural acumen with a heightened commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity
- Test your advisement skills as you supervise and support the work of the nonprofit chief executive
- Make tough strategic decisions through the application of high ethical and moral standards
How BoardLead Works for our Corporate Partners
Select Participating Nonprofit Organizations
Corporate Partner: A corporate partner has the option to provide to Cause Strategy Partners a list of nonprofit organizations that the company supports or would otherwise like to include for nonprofit outreach related to participating in the BoardLead program. Ideally this list includes 30 or more nonprofit organizations operating in your community.
Cause Strategy Partners: We reach out to the identified organizations with a prominent acknowledgment that the nonprofit is being invited to consider their participation based exclusively on your company’s sponsorship. After robust education and outreach to the identified nonprofit organizations, Cause Strategy Partners then manages the application process of those interested in participating in the cohort and selects the best-suited nonprofit.
Develop Pool of Talent
Corporate Partner: Hosts an on-site, invitation-only orientation session for the professionals identified as potential participants (usually about 60 employees). This session helps your employees understand the ins-and-outs of board service to help them decide whether they are ready to make the commitment. Employees will also learn how to apply for the BoardLead program.
Cause Strategy Partners: Leads the orientation session and begins recruiting potential board candidates to participate in the BoardLead program.
Match Corporate Employees with Nonprofits
Corporate Partner: Employees participate in an educational webinar session to set them up for success in their first meeting with the nonprofits organization’s board members.
Cause Strategy Partners: Analyzes the backgrounds and information provided by company professionals who apply for the BoardLead program. Matches are then made between the employees and nonprofits based on interest in and passion for the mission, board expectations, and professional skills.
Nomination and Election Process
The board recruitment process for any nonprofit is an important and deliberative activity. It is a process whereby the candidate, the chief executive, and numerous members of the board of directors must come to the shared conclusion of favorable fit, timing and readiness. This tends to take place over a three-month period of time.
Corporate Partner: Nonprofits meet individually with each company employee (candidate) they are matched with to begin the process of assessing fit and readiness to serve.
Cause Strategy Partners: Works closely with the nonprofit organizations and board candidates throughout this three-month process, helping track progress, answer questions, and facilitate communication.
Training and Ongoing Support for New Board Members
New Board Members and Cause Strategy Partners: All elected new board members, who we refer to as BoardLeaders, will be provided ongoing access to BoardLearn, our suite of governance trainings including live webinar sessions, recorded webinars and our library of e-learning modules covering a wide range of relevant governance topics. Additionally, during a four-month period, one-on-one support is available and helps newly minted board members brainstorm solutions to early challenges, receive insights on enhancing one’s service, or otherwise address concerns and questions that develop.
Measuring the Impact of Board Service
After BoardLeaders serve on the board of directors of their nonprofit organization for one year, Cause Strategy Partners engages them in an evaluation and data collection process to understand the impact they are having on the organizations. We engage in the same process upon completion of the second year of board service.