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With the dawn of a new year, many people are often giving thought to their goals, objectives and commitments for the year ahead. Common aims regularly include intentions for self-improvement and growth in the workplace, but sometimes ambitious goals can leave us overwhelmed when we’re unsure of how to take the first step to get there. Volunteering might just be the answer.

Volunteering on a non-profit board is an excellent way to gain personal fulfillment, give back to your community, and develop skills and knowledge that will be beneficial throughout your career. Most non-profits are overseen by a Board of Directors who govern the organization through measures such as strategic planning, budget approval, setting policy and even fundraising at times. Given this scope of work, it’s easy to see why a diversity of thoughts and backgrounds is needed at the Board level.

The personal benefits of serving on a non-profit board are endless. Not only are you giving back to the community by dedicating your time to an organization whose beliefs align with your own, you are developing your own professional leadership skills and networks. This is a chance to learn more about governance, strategic planning, finance and audit, marketing and branding, stewardship, community engagement and so much more. Serving on a board also presents lifelong mentorship opportunities, for both mentor and protégée.

“What I personally get out being on the YWCA Board is professional development, personal fulfillment, and a diverse network in our community,” shares Kim Pejs, VP of the YWCA Edmonton Board of Directors. “I feel personally fulfilled by spending my time focused on our community and regularly get inspired by the people I connect with at the YW. I am still closely connected to past board members and feel my network has significantly diversified and grew since being on this Board.”

YWCA Edmonton is currently recruiting for three board membership opportunities: Focus on Indigenous Communities, Youth Volunteer & Civic Leader, and Expertise in Fundraising and/or Finances. Consider your current skills, knowledge and interests: if you’re looking to gain leadership experience and have a say in helping to guide our work in building a community that is stronger, healthier and equitable for all, consider applying.

Committing to an entire term as a board member might seem daunting at first, when standard non-profit board terms typically range anywhere from 1-3 years. This time commitment is in place for a reason: it allows new members an opportunity to learn about the current state of operations while also familiarizing themselves with the history of the organization; this information in turn will allow board members to make informed decisions when setting future goals as a Board. It’s also enough time realize with certainty that you are making a true difference in shaping the work of the organization.

Concludes Pejs: “I have learned so much from the YWCA Team, our Board members and through the hands-on work I’ve done. I have built my confidence, my skills, knowledge, and experiences in the not-for-profit sector, in strategic planning/decision making and Finance/Governance/Risk Management. I have applied these skills to my work life and now have confidence in my ability to secure a seat on other Boards in the future.”