Category Archives: conferences

Wondering how to find your place in the non-profit world?

Colored flags flying high outside the Moscone ...

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One of my favorite non-profit industry events of the year is just around the corner: San Francisco Board Match on Tuesday January 11, 2011 from 4pm to 7pm. Over 100 organizations set up tables in Moscone West to recruit board members.

I know you might be thinking, “Do I really want to join a board?” Don’t fret–this is an ideal event to survey what’s happening locally in the non-profit scene, talk to the leaders of many great organizations, and get a great sense for which organizations excite you.

I look at the board recruiting theme as just the raison d’être for the event. In the bigger picture you’re getting much of the local non-profit scene, all in one room, for free. And besides, you might be surprised at the orgs that catch your fancy, and where that might lead.

Last year I “fell in love” with an arts org (who, me?!) called Leap…Imagination in Learning and ended up not on their board, but as a volunteer classroom assistant to a number of artists doing programs at an elementary school near my place. It’s been a very joyful experience.

I also came upon a group called At the Crossroads that gives homeless folks support and encouragement; even though I haven’t volunteered with them, I’m still reading their emails a year later and will almost certainly contribute in some way soon. Even more importantly, following them helped me realize my deep passion for helping unlock potential in disadvantaged people. So much more  than I thought I’d get from Board Match!

And finally, I came across a startup nonprofit that organizes high school students towards green projects, started by a former eBay guy. I recall they had lots of energy, great ideas, drive, but at the time I wasn’t focused on that space. However, just the other day I got an idea for a way to make a meaningful reduction in the amount of junk mail that is sent to apartments and post-office boxes. And although I don’t have the bandwidth personally to drive this, now I know a great org which may just want to take my idea and run with it.

Here’s the point: amazing things can happen when a broad group of non-profit orgs are all placed in one big exhibition hall for several hours. You may be interested in board service, you may be looking for orgs to donate to, or you may just be generally called to explore the non-profit space. Whatever it is, just attend.

  • Board Match SF is free but advance registration is appreciated. You can also just drop-in on the day of.
  • Get there early. There are so many great orgs to talk to tha at you’ll need all the time you can get. I’ll be there when the doors open at 4PM.

Have a great Board Match 2011!