This article originally featured in the Marlborough Weekly. Thank you to Paula Hulburt from Marlborough Media for the chance to spread the word about Board members a bit more.
Since 2009 Volunteer Marlborough have been matching volunteers with local organisations that need help. Volunteers are urgently needed to help on numerous Boards of Trustees across the region. Here, Chairperson Beth Barnes explains why taking up a volunteer post can be a win-win.
What does a Board of Trustees do, and why are they important?
A Board of Trustees governs an organisation. We set the strategy and the direction, seeing the big picture; then the staff do the work to get us there. An analogy that is often used is that of a boat - the Board steers the boat and the staff row the boat, working together we make a difference.
What kind of people are you looking for to volunteer for these roles?
It is so important to have a diverse representation on a Board. The most important attribute we are looking for is a passion for volunteering in the community and an understanding of why it is important.
Is it a big time commitment?
We have a monthly meeting that takes about 1.5 hours. There there is the reading before that, about another hour, and any discussion that needs to be had between meetings. If we have something that needs doing by a Board member, we ask who is able to do it and work around the other commitments we all have.
What would a potential volunteer need to know about being on a Board of Trustees?
You don't need any experience (but it is always a benefit!). You can do some training online and other Board members have experience in governance, you need just need to want to be able to help and be able to commit to the organisation and do the best for it. Don't be afraid to speak up and give your opinion, there usually isn't a right or wrong answer but it is important to be involved in the discussion. If you are interested in joining a Board, approach the organisation - many will be looking for new members and would love to hear from you.
Do the benefits work both ways?
I have found that I get a lot out of being on a Board. There are opportunities to learn and grow, to practice new skills and increase your knowledge as well as being able to bring your knowledge, experience, and skills into the organisation, so it is a mutually beneficial relationship.
How long have you been Board Chair for Volunteer Marlborough and what does it mean to you to be part of that team?
I've been on the Volunteer Marlborough Board for 3 years and I took over being Chair a year ago. VM is an important organisation in the not-for-profit community, providing support, training, and resources to other organisations. Volunteering is important to me and being part of an organisation that promotes that to everyone in our community is very satisfying.