Most nonprofit’s are constantly looking for more and engaged board members. Our CEO, Julia Patrick, provides key tips on getting younger members to serve. She discusses how and why the newer generations are less focused on benevolence, tend to be committed to life long learning, and typically are looking to grow their networks and leadership skills in the things they’ll commit to do.

View the telecast:


Julia Patrick, CEO of the American Nonprofit Academy, and Jarrett Ransom, CEO of the Raven Group, discuss the importance of board engagement and attracting younger board members. They address the paradigm shift from benevolence to impact in charitable giving, emphasizing that people are now looking for structural change rather than simply providing charity. This shift is seen globally and reflects a major sea change in philanthropy.

Julia explains that organizations need to understand and embrace this shift if they want to build a board with a younger demographic. Younger donors and board members are looking for opportunities to learn, grow, and make connections. They expect to be trained and engaged in education, as they are lifelong learners. If organizations fail to provide these opportunities, they will struggle to attract younger board members.

The discussion also touches on advocacy work, with Julia noting that younger board members may prefer to advocate through social media rather than traditional methods. Onboarding and mentorship programs are seen as valuable for new board members, and Julia highlights the importance of wisdom and generational opportunities that can be provided by an Emeritus board.

The conversation then shifts to the importance of justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion (JEDI) values for attracting younger board members. Julia emphasizes that it’s not enough for organizations to claim they believe in JEDI principles—they need to demonstrate it through policies, board diversity, and addressing specific issues like language diversity and economic parity. The younger generation wants to see a management plan for how organizations are dealing with these issues.

Jarrett raises the issue of some established board members feeling uncomfortable with the push for JEDI values and potentially leaving the organization. Julia acknowledges the generational differences in expectations and behaviors and stresses the need for courageous conversations and strong board leadership to navigate these challenges.

Overall, the discussion highlights the need for organizations to adapt to the changing philanthropic landscape and engage younger board members by providing learning opportunities, embracing JEDI values, and fostering open dialogue within the board.