I was 22 years old when I was asked to join my first Board of Directors. At the time, I honestly didn’t know what a “Board” did. Dayna Del Val asked me to join the advisory group for The Arts Partnership, in part to provide some perspective from a recent college grad.
This small ask from a friend and business partner catapulted me into a young career that’s been enriched by community involvement. I’ve served on boards and advisory committees for The Arts Partnership, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Carlsen Cup, Creative Mornings, The Alzheimer’s Association and American Advertising Federation of North Dakota. I also started a young alumni and student committee called Cobbers Mean Business with a friend.
When I first got involved with community boards, I felt like it was a good opportunity to boost my resume and expand my network. Now, my perspective has changed. I’ve recognized that the greatest benefit I’ve received is the sense of community I feel in Fargo; a sense that’s rooted not only in what I’ve been able to gain from this area, but what I’ve been able to contribute.
Why Should You Join a Community Board?
As a young professional, there’s really no better way to feel connected to the community than by giving back. Donating your time and talents to a cause that you’re passionate about can have tremendous benefits for your career and your overall wellbeing. Let’s break down a few of the top reasons why you should consider joining a board:
• It’s an easy way to expand your network and connect with others.
In fact, two of the groomsmen in my wedding were contacts I made through a community board. Boards are a great way to find individuals with passions that are similar to your own, and the time you spend together working on a common cause can naturally lead to friendship. This network will bolster both your professional and personal life.
• Volunteering your time has been proven to improve happiness.
. According to a Social Science and Medicine study, the odds of being “very happy” rose 7% for individuals who volunteered monthly and 12% for people who volunteered every 2-4 weeks. In times like these, who couldn’t use the boost in endorphins?
• The skills obtained from community involvement can advance your career.
92% of surveyed corporate HR execs agree that contributing business skills and expertise to a nonprofit can be an effective way to improve employees’ leadership and broad professional skill sets (according to a Deloitte survey). More involvement = more opportunity to grow as a leader!
• Your help is needed in our community.
In 2022, there were almost 550 charitable organizations participating in Giving Hearts Day. Almost every one of these organizations (and more throughout our community) have active boards, committees, advisory teams, and other professional volunteer needs. Donating your time to these organizations is a great way to bring some good into our community.
How to Get Started
One of the best ways to get started is to identify what you’re passionate about. Are you interested in arts and creativity? Ending homelessness and hunger? Youth development and education? Then, begin researching nonprofits and charities in our community to find one whose mission matches your interest. Reach out to them through their website, social media, or email and inquire how you can get involved.
As the President of AAF-ND’s Board this year, I can attest to the fact that helping hands are always needed! If you’re passionate about marketing & advertising, check out aaf-nd.org and give us a shout.
About the author:
Jack Yakowicz is the Director of Operations for AdShark Marketing and has served as a board member for AAF since 2018.