For Monica Roers, president and CEO of the New Orleans-based Center for Nonprofit Resources, nowhere is that effort more notable than within the nation's nonprofit community.Roers
oversees BoardsWork!, a program that identifies potential nonprofit board members throughout the greater New Orleans area, trains them on the roles and responsibilities of such service, and matches them as board interns with local nonprofits.
Program fees, which currently total $400 per participant, are paid either by an individual's employer or in part through "scholarship" funds Roers
secures for those without a sponsor.
says BoardsWork! is helping New Orleans area nonprofits address those problems by using advertising and direct mail, presentations throughout the business community, and one-on-one solicitation to "shake the bushes" and locate the very people agencies need.
"We find that when we look at the types of issues and concerns an intern is most passionate about, then match them with an agency whose interests are similar to their own, they're more likely to feel attached to that agency and be more committed and prepared to help address its needs," she
believes that such diverse representation is important not only to the physical makeup of a nonprofit board, but also to the quality of the organization's services.
"Greater diversity among [the membership of] nonprofit boards means more opportunity for different voices and viewpoints to be heard at the organizations' executive level," she
said."That is then more likely to lead to the informed, balanced decisions that truly benefit a nonprofit's mission and those it is intended to serve."
While the impact of BoardsWork! on the nonprofit community is evident, Roers
staff are keenly aware that the interns' own satisfaction is crucial to ensuring the program's continued success.She
notes that personal and professional connections formed through the program play a key role to bringing in new BoardsWork! participants, and the sense of becoming "genuinely plugged into the community" helps keep many involved in board governance long after their internships.
staff continue to sift through the results of the MultiQuest evaluation and consider possible improvements to the BoardsWork! program, she
is pleased to note the growing evidence of the project's overall success.