How to join a nonprofit board

By: HFSV September 9, 2021

In completing the Latino Board Leadership Academy you committed to learning on how to effectively volunteer your time in leadership roles as board members of nonprofits in the Silicon Valley.    

In order to ensure that our well trained LBLA Alumni sit on a nonprofit board the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley would like to provide you with practical steps to finding and contacting the nonprofit, you wish to serve…

I. Identify a Nonprofit

  1.  Determine the type of organization that interests you.
    Does the mission area interest you?  Are you interested in a local or national organization?
    What groups do you currently give money or volunteer for? 
  2. Mix and mingle with organizations.

To meet new nonprofits utilize resources such as the Nonprofit Board Match Night and LBLA Mixers (more information soon) that the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley offers.

In addition, utilize websites, such as, GuideStar and Center for Excellence in Nonprofits to locate nonprofits in your interest area.

II. Contact the Organization

  1. Identify and reach out to either a board member or chief executive officer of the nonprofit.  

Here is an example of how you might want to reach out via email:
Hello [insert name],
[Brief bio/description of self]
I am interested in learning about [nonprofit name] and the possibility of serving on the [nonprofit name] board of directors.
I would love to set up a [meeting/phone] call to learn more.
Sincerely, [insert name]

III. Two-Way Interview

  1.  Prepare to ask questions.

Visit their headquarters, search their website, gather as much information as you can about what the nonprofit does.

Ask questions regarding the responsibility of actively making decisions on behalf of the organization.  Learn about the loyalty and desire of the other nonprofit board members. Ask what at this moment does the nonprofit board desire in a new nonprofit board member.

Make sure that you understand the expectations the organization places on its board members. What are the fundraising and personal contribution responsibilities? What is the meeting attendance policy? How many committee assignments are you expected to accept?

      2. Prepare to answer questions.

Recruitment is a two-way street. Effective boards are composed of various skills, talents, and perspectives and they often rely on their profile as a tool for recruitment.  Boards can create their own profile matrix, which allows them to determine their present composition and evaluate their future needs.

IV. Moving Forward

  1. Follow up
    Reach back out by email the next morning and the following week.  This showcases genuine interest and enthusiasm for the position.  
  2. Decision making
    If you are offered to sit on a board, congratulations! We would love to hear about your experience.  Email Margarita DeAvila at to let the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley know of your accomplishments.