Is Nonprofit Involvement Useful for Corporate Professionals?

Many corporate professionals feel as though they don’t have meaningful connection with social issues in the world around them. They may also feel disconnected from their community because of the nature of their work and demanding schedules. Those in the corporate environment may simply not know where to begin engaging in helpful community service. Nonprofit board participation is a way corporate professionals can successfully and beneficially engage with their communities while also gaining confidence, leadership skills, and valuable experience in high level decision-making.

So, why specifically should you, a corporate professional, be interested in serving on nonprofit board?

1) By working hand-in-hand with local nonprofits, you’ll learn more about the complexity of the region in which you live and work. Preparation is key in the business world, and knowledge of your community is crucial to being a prepared and motivated leader.

2) You will gain a greater connection with and understanding of the impact of nonprofits, and how essential they are to the health and sustainability of communities. You’ll also learn how your employer may be able to partner and collaborate with nonprofits, leading to benefits for both organizations.

3) Professionals who are interested in the development of their own leadership skills benefit from board-level nonprofit service. The issues that nonprofits deal with daily require strong leadership and management strategies that are also needed in the corporate environment. Engaging in board service will help prepare you to succeed in leadership and management positions when difficult situations arise (as they inevitably do)!

4) Nonprofit board participation can also facilitate relationships and grow your network. You’ll have the opportunity to connect with other professionals working for businesses and nonprofits in the region that have similar interests and passions.

5) You will be able to pass on your experiences and understanding of leadership, communication, and board-level thinking to the next generation of leaders and community servants. As we mentioned above, nonprofit service is useful in developing skills you can implement in many areas of corporate life. Just as useful, though, are the lessons you pass on to those around you! Studies show that those who spend time teaching what they’ve learned go on to show better understanding and knowledge retention than those who simply retain the information for themselves.

In an attempt to address the needs of corporate professionals interested in better serving their communities, the Alliance for Better Nonprofits and the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee have collaborated in an effort to bridge the gap between ‘work’ and ‘service’ through their OnBoard program. The OnBoard program is a training initiative which prepares high-potential professionals for service on nonprofit boards.

After the OnBoard program, the Alliance for Better Nonprofits helps to match and place its participants onto nonprofit boards that fit their interests and passions. Participants also receive certificates of completion from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville showing documentation of their qualifications in board-level service.

“I learned so many different things that will help me even if I never even get the chance to serve on a nonprofit board (but of course I do plan on supporting and serving on nonprofit boards and committees for many years).”

“I’m now engaged in ongoing discussions with two nonprofits about how I can help on committees or become a board member. I’m excited to put what I learned to use.”

Interested in participating in the 2019-20 OnBoard program? Fill out the online application HERE. Questions? Contact Samantha Amick at or (865) 313-2077 x208.