How to Become a Board Member for An Organization You Are Passionate About

Posted on June 9, 2014

One of our former campus ambassadors, Erica Sweeney, from LSU just graduated and landed a full-time job! She was sharing her “life updates” with me and mentioned that she is sitting on the board for the Mental Health Association. Young people – and recent grads – are not usually board members for prestigious organizations. I immediately wanted to learn more. I asked Erica how she got involved with the Mental Health Association and she said it was actually through a PR capstone class at LSU. They work with a different “real client” every semester so that’s how she was initially introduced to them. They liked her so much that they ended up approaching her afterward and asking her to sit on their board to help bring some innovation and youth connection into the organization. Here is some advice from Erica on how to get involved with organizations you are passionate about:

  1. Work for companies that will support your passions.Erica’s current employer was excited to hear that she wanted to get involved with a great organization. She did speak with her supervisor before officially applying to be a board member for MHA.
  1. Don’t assume boards are for your elders. Erica encourages young people to understand their worth and what they bring to the table – youth and innovation. Organizations do want to connect with millennials, and they are interested in hearing your ideas.
  1. Show off your strengths. Erica describes her generation as being ambitious, tech-savvy, and passionate – she says that non-profits really value that. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself and your ideas. Erica says the best piece of advice she was given, was  “Find the one thing that no one does well and that you do perfectly – and talk about it!”
  1. Prove your worth. Do your homework and try your best to understand the non-profit and their goals. Write down ways they can improve and different ideas you have for growth and expansion. Share these ideas with your contacts at the organization.

Congratulations on your accomplishments, Erica! We can’t wait to see what else is in store for you.