Monday, October 18, 2004

Never volunteer 

Some PR practitioners are asked to serve on community boards as the face of a company. I am beginning to think volunteering like this can be a waste of time -- if one wants to get something done.

My frustration comes from personal experience serving on an advisory board that seems incapable of steering a course, any course. Part of the problem is the board's leadership that fails to keep members focused. The rest of the problem lies with board members themselves who find it difficult to focus for more than few seconds on any one topic before flitting to something else.

What does one gain from serving on boards like this except a healthy disrespect for the human species? Why put up with meandering meetings that start nowhere and end there?

It is unfair to condemn all not-for-profit boards and I won't, but it seems to me that far too many are like this. They are staffed by people who needn't be accountable, so they aren't.

It is easier to deal with a taskmaster than with a wandering board. My suggestion: If you must volunteer, select a board that you can control or join one that is serious about its work. Skip the rest.


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