I finally joined a Board.
I say “finally” because I have been invited to apply for Board positions since leaving academia in 2007, but the situations were never right. I have worked with Boards, under Boards, and helped clients work on Board development strategies. Why would I take so long to finally join one? A strong and effective Board of Directors should be the vital core of an organization, and it seems like, in my personal experience, those organizations that are struggling or suffering in some way share one common factor — Board problems.
I think everyone who has worked in nonprofits has experienced similar problems/frustrations, including the Board members themselves.
There are a lot of great sources of information and advice, including possible benefits of joining a Board of Directors, basic fiduciary responsibilities, potential dilemmas of ineffectiveness, corruption, or just general bad behavior (such as this, this, and this), and the importance of Board member engagement. There are many, many more articles and blog posts our there on the interwebs discussing the benefits, pitfalls, and responsibilities you take on when joining a board.