Serving on not-for-profit and civic boards is one of the most common marketing strategies for attorneys. But making such service pay off is often not so easy – and it’s never automatic. Many attorneys get frustrated when, after years on the annual golf tournament steering committee, or the local hospital board, they haven’t seen the flow of work they hoped for when they joined.
Or they struggle with the self-imposed belief that their board service and their desire to market their legal practice are incongruent. Many contribute precious time to boards whose members, while dedicated to the cause, are simply not in a position to be natural business allies.
But board service can be quite profitable and fulfilling at the same. It’s the perfect illustration of “doing well by doing good.”
Here’s how: If you’re not on any board, or if you’re not on a strong board, identify an issue or cause about which you genuinely care and find the top organizations in your area. Get their info, including a list of current and recent board members. These organizations are always on the lookout for fresh faces, so call the Executive Director or Board President and have lunch.
Here’s the single most important thing you can do once you’re on a board that seems to have strong members: make sure to actively build personal relationships by meeting with each of them one-on-one and then following up between meetings with the members you connect with.
If you’re on a board with too little potential, make sure the current term is your last (or even consider resigning early). Remember, you can be both authentic in your commitment to serve AND tactically wise in your desire to get the most out of the volunteer time you give.