Is Nonprofit Board Membership really worth it?

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When I was asked to join the NCTV17 board of Directors six years ago, I knew very little about what it meant to be a board member. I thought the role of a board member was to attend meetings, offer an occasional suggestion and support the organization financially. And, while that is partly true, the board experience is, and should be, so much more if the volunteer is truly committed to furthering the mission of the organization.

During my tenure on the board, many things have changed. First is the fundamental shift in the way we consume television. Though you may still sit in front of your TV at home, many of us are watching on mobile devices and want to watch TV on-demand. Gone are the days of making sure that you were home to catch the latest episode of your favorite show. You can watch what you want, when you want, and where you want.

To meet consumer needs, the station updated its website technology to ensure viewers could watch programming just as easily on a mobile device as a 60” television set. While NCTV17 shows continued to be available on YouTube, the station’s talk shows also became Podcasts giving residents another platform to access the content, And while many people enjoy watching an entire episode of their favorite show, the option to watch, and share, an individual news story or segment became even easier.

As NCTV17 was adapting to meet changing consumer demand, the involvement of the station’s board of directors really began to shift. The first two years of my time on the board, I sat quietly and listened, asking questions to better understand the financial report, the strategic plan of the organization and how we, as a board, could better support the station. As my knowledge and understanding of NCTV17’s evolving role within the community grew, so did my passion and that is where the real change started to occur.

Over the next four years, I took on leadership positions and together with the other board directors made it a priority to find the right people to bring onto the board each year to help move the organization forward. We created, with the staff, a new vision and mission statement, together with a 3-year strategic plan. As part of that plan, NCTV17 conducted community research that resulted in the creation of new niche programming: Dana Being Dana, The Moms Network, Seniors Today and Finding Common Ground.

For the first time, the board really focused on fundraising. Game On! launched in 2016 as a FUNdraising event that would not only raise awareness of NCTV17’s nonprofit status and funds but also create entertaining programming for the channel. In 2017, to mark the station’s 30th anniversary, a capital campaign for new HD studio cameras was completed. And in 2020, an ongoing plan for fundraising was put in place resulting in the largest number of individual donations during GivingTuesdayNow this May.

And now, as I have only a few months left of my final term on the NCTV17 board, I look back with pride knowing that the hard work was worth it! My experience has taught me how complex and challenging nonprofit governance can be, but also how very important it is. To all my fellow NCTV17 board members, past and present, as well as the amazing staff, thank you for your work and dedication to telling local stories on air and online and keeping our community informed, connected and engaged!

– Michele Clemen, NCTV17 Board President