Why Don’t More Members of Gens X and Y Join Boards?

From http://boardlifematters.org – to inspire and engage the next generation in nonprofit board service.

The BoardSource Nonprofit Governance Index 2007 found that 2 percent of board members were under 30 years old, 36 percent were 30-49, 49 percent were 50-64, and 13 percent were over 65. These statistics suggest a lack of Generation X (generally defined as those born between 1963 and 1980) and Generation Y (generally defined as those born between 1981 and 2002) serving on nonprofit boards. Why?

There are a few sides to the story. Research presented in BoardSource’s Next Generation and Governance Report on Findings found some boards are hesitant to recruit members of Generations X and Y because there is a:

•Tendency to recruit others like themselves – and some boards are uncertain of where to find “younger” board members
•Skepticism about the need to have various generations on boards
•Preference for a “C-Suite” or corporate officer type profile on the board•Concern of isolation (that the individual would be an “only” on the board – i.e., the only person from their generation)•Misperception about their commitment.In turn, work we’ve done with organizations promoting board service to Generations X and Y, as well as some informal polling and focus groups, has revealed that some in these demographics are hesitant to pursue board opportunities for the following reasons:

•They hold the perception that board service is not accessible
•They think they’re not qualified
•They don’t know what is involved in joining a board
•They’re unaware of the impact of board service on an organization’s mission or what board service can do to help a cause.


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