Community service is undoubtedly a commendable endeavor, but when we become wrapped up in busy work and home lives, it is easy to lose track of time and feel unable to “do it all.”
However, doing good and giving back can take as little — or as much — time as you’d like.
The key to successful community service is passion.
For me, board service with the WNY Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association was a natural fit, as I lost my mother to dementia three years ago.
Serving on the local Board of Directors has given me a concrete way to honor my mother’s memory, help others who are currently impacted by this disease and prepare for a future without Alzheimer’s.
In fact, those three goals — honoring the past, impacting the present, and preparing for the future — will set the stage for a successful board term, no matter the organization.
Honor the past: It is important to first acknowledge the reasons why you have chosen to serve. Then, it is critical to understand the organization’s history, its place in the community and the population it serves. Gaining an understanding of the challenges that have come before will help give you an appreciation and understanding of what role you can play on the board.
Impact the present: When you join a board, ask yourself: what can I do right now to help? What are the immediate needs of the organization? How can my unique skill set contribute to the solutions? This will help you hit the ground running.
Prepare for the future: The ultimate goal of board service is to position the organization for success in the future, both in terms of its mission goals and financial security. As board members, we are guardians of the organizations we serve and must always strive for ways to leave our own positive mark on the organization.
About the author: Cynthia Giganti Ludwig works at Hodgson Russ LLP, where she is a partner in the firm’s Business Litigation group. Cynthia also serves on the Boards of the WNY Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and Theatre of Youth (TOY).