As a non-profit professional for more than 25 years and a four-time executive director, I know first-hand that you can have the best mission in the world but that without talented, dedicated, and well-trained board members, you will never be truly successful in advancing your mission. In Mercer County we are very fortunate to have an organization that helps us move our nonprofit organizations forward in a very significant way — VolunteerConnect.

When I became the executive director of the Princeton-Blairstown Center a little more than three years ago, one of the best pieces of advice I received was to contact Amy Klein, the executive director of VolunteerConnect. Amy recruits professionals from Mercer County who are interested in making a difference in their communities and then she and her board train them to be engaged and informed board members.

VolunteerConnect’s trainees come to a “Meet & Greet” where nonprofit leaders talk with them about our missions and what kinds of skills our organizations need. This general meeting is usually followed up by individual meetings to discuss our organization’s programs and the potential trustee’s interests.

I was fortunate to be accepted to participate in VolunteerConnect’s first class, where I met and recruited an incredible trustee who has led our rebranding efforts and chaired our first special event in many years. Since then we have obtained an incredible new finance committee member and have three more trustees in the pipeline thanks to VolunteerConnect. These trustees ask thoughtful and insightful questions when they meet with our governance chair and they often ask to talk to other trustees before moving forward in the process. This increases the chance that the Princeton-Blairstown Center will be the right “fit” for them and helps them feel more prepared and engaged at their first board meeting.

VolunteerConnect’s highly trained future trustees understand their fiduciary responsibility; their duty of care, loyalty, and obedience; and the need for board members to help introduce the organization to their networks.

Thank you, Amy Klein and VolunteerConnect, for helping the Princeton-Blairstown Center and many others in Mercer County strengthen our boards and increase our capacities to serve some of our community’s most vulnerable young people and adults.

Pam Gregory

President & CEO, Princeton-Blairstown Center

For more information, visit www.volunteerconnectnj.org. The group hosts its next Executive Director Forum — open to executive directors and CEOs — on Tuesday, February 28, at 9 a.m. at the D&R Greenway, 1 Preservation Place, Princeton. The featured speaker is Chris Daggett, president and CEO of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

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