You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

Grace Armstrong News, Stories

There is no greater gift to a nonprofit organization than a board member who is motivated to be involved in his own education. When most of us join a board, we think that we bring a great deal of wisdom because of our backgrounds in business, education, or whatever our field of work is. We believe that we are sufficiently prepared because we excel in our own fields. Often we don’t realize there is so much more to board membership.

Naturally, we know that as a board member it is not only our talent, but our time and treasure that we must give to our nonprofit organization. The problem is that most of us don’t know what we don’t know. As a result, not all board members realize that there is much to learn in order to be an excellent board member. Not all board members realize there is a robust body of knowledge easily accessible through in- person classes and online.

And what is this knowledge that we don’t all know about? How many of us as board members know that we are stewards of the public trust; that, legally, we have a duty of care, loyalty, and obedience? And what does all that really mean for each of us personally? No one teaches us the deep responsibilities of board membership unless we take it upon ourselves to learn and own our own education…all for the greater good.