Why nonprofit organizations are important and why their boards need you

If you Google the words “nonprofit organization,” multiple definitions will appear. But they will all define a nonprofit as: an organization whose purpose is something other than making a profit and that exists to further a particular social cause or advocate for a particular issue. Nonprofit organizations do not have owners; rather, they have boards of directors.

When people think of nonprofits, they often think of religious and charitable organizations that provide services the government does not provide or does not provide enough of. The government, for example, does not provide food for those who are hungry. The government provides vouchers or debit cards to purchase food, but generally does not directly provide food products. For people who are not eligible for these vouchers, or families who run out of food before the end of the month, food banks or food pantries fill the void—food pantries operated by nonprofit organizations, like South Hills Interfaith Movement (SHIM).

Nonprofit organizations strengthen communities by providing the educational, health, and social services that citizens need and which the government cannot fully provide.  But, nonprofit organizations can only fulfill their missions when they have dedicated and passionate people who give their time, talent, and treasure to volunteer and serve on nonprofits’ volunteer boards of directors.

When you realize people in your community desperately need the services of a nonprofit and you can further its mission, it couldn’t be easier to make a phone call and ask how you can get involved:

  • Most people first take one a small project to learn more about the organization.
  • As you meet other volunteers and become more passionate about the organization’s mission, you may decide to volunteer in even more ways and ultimately be asked to serve on the board of directors.
  • As a volunteer, you have already shared your talent, most likely you have already given financially (your treasure) and your time. By serving on the board of directors, you will give your time and help make decisions to strengthen the organization financially and programmatically.

Local nonprofits help make our communities thrive. Without them, our neighbors who have fallen on hard times might struggle to make ends meet. By sitting on a board and offering your time and expertise, you can make a real difference.

Quite simply, volunteering for a nonprofit organization is a beneficial way to strengthen our community, share our blessings and help our neighbors who are in need. The time I’ve spent on SHIM’s board has been incredibly rewarding. I encourage others to learn more at shimcares.org.

By Nancy Murray, SHIM board member