Building that next generation of corporate leaders can be a challenge. Education is a great thing but many students come out the other end with a lot of knowledge but no experience. The job market is tough these days and so many of our young and talented future leaders are finding it impossible to get the experience they need to move forward in leadership roles. As they slog it out in the trenches of the entry level world, how do they gain the experience that so many job postings are demanding? The answer to this challenging question can be quite simple, volunteering.
Many non-profit organizations are in need of volunteers to fill a variety of leadership roles, from Directors on the Board, Treasurers, Board Secretaries, Board Chairs, and Vice Chairs, not to mention Project and Committee leads for a variety of tasks. The leaders of today who are fostering the next generation of leaders in their organizations should be actively promoting volunteerism as part of their corporate culture. It is one of the best ways to encourage the up and comers to gain the experience necessary to take on leadership roles in the future. The experience that theses future leaders can gain will pay great dividends when they are faced with similar situations in their work environment.
Most non-profit organizations are corporations, and although their goal is to take any revenue generated and turn it into a benefit for the community, they are still governed by a corporations act and face many regulations and challenges seen in the for profit world. The experience gained by a volunteer on a non-profit board can benefit their for-profit life directly as they sit around boardrooms contributing to the dialogue with experiences they have gained in the non-profit sector.
In the non-profit world we deal with challenges in marketing, financial management, revenue generation, human resources, strategic planning as well as audits and reporting. As a Director on a non-profit board, you will be faced with decisions on these topics on a monthly basis as you provide input and guidance for the organization. These boards are generally composed of individuals with a variety of experiences and backgrounds with board members having served from one to six years and the senior members providing guidance to the new.
So if you are looking for a way to prepare the next generation in your corporation for leadership that is cost effective, good for your corporate image and great for the community, then point them in the direction of volunteering and perhaps even, lead by example.