Age Diversity in Board Members

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Hello everyone, my name is Emily Rangel, and I am a student at California State University Monterey Bay CSUMB. I am currently going into my senior year and working as an NPC intern through my field training program in Collaborative Human and Health Services.




This week’s blog topic will be regarding Age Diversity in Board Members. In the article Welcoming the Next Generation of Board Leadership by Christina Carr, the author discusses suggestions for nonprofits to recruit younger board members.

While most boards have been working in recent years to diversify their board members, there is still room for improvement. Diversity across the board is all-important, such as ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identification, religion, social class, and age. However, age is a factor that may be difficult for boards to integrate. Some contributing factors include younger volunteers not having disposable funds to contribute to a board. While older board members may have a more disposable income that can be donated to the boards they sit on, this may not be true for younger board members.

Furthermore, it may be difficult for boards to recruit younger board members since current members are out of touch with the interests of younger generations. Christina Carr points out how the corporate world has begun to integrate younger professionals and believes the nonprofit should follow.  She states “According to BoardSource, however, just 17 percent of nonprofit board members are under 40. Meanwhile, our colleagues in the corporate world are making it a priority to bring on younger board members.”(Carr, 2020). Additionally, Carr highlights the lack of age board diversity in the nonprofit sector.

Carr simplifies the steps to an age-diverse board by breaking down the process: beging with gaining an understanding of what brings young volunteers to apply for a leadership position, such as being part of a community and having their input valued. The second step includes being intentional and developing a strategy for recruiting board members.  By this, she is referring to the time commitment required by board member positions; she suggests ensuring that board members are on the same page such as revising policies, if needed, to add clarity and clear understanding of commitment since young professionals may have other responsibilities. The third step is having some form of an onboard training program for new board members and current board members; doing so can lead to an inclusive supportive culture among the board. The fourth and final step is cultivating future board members. Carr stresses to begin this process early before the person actually serves on the board so that there is time to transition and work on leadership development. These are all great measures to begin age diversity in board members. How will you begin to recruit younger board members? What onboarding process would you provide for these individuals? 



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