Here are the questions I would ask before joining a not-for-profit board. It is important to scrutinize the organization for professionalism and fit, particularly for NFPs where resources can be stretched, as your reputation and even financial assets may be at risk. These questions try to address the downside of joining the wrong board.
Innoversity is a not-for-profit organization that has spent the past 13 years struggling with some success "to create opportunities for cultural minority, Aboriginal and disabled Canadians to actively engage with, and be reflected within, key social sectors and institutions." That's institution-speak for fighting racism and all the other isms that still stain our society, particularly our media.
We fuelled a belief in our capitalist society that you can't make a profit without harming the world -- and that the only people who can do good for our world don't make a profit. "Giving back" has become one of the most fashionable lines -- as if to imply that we really must have stolen something as we were making a profit!
The cynics in the not-for-profit space would argue that profit and "good" cannot possibly be synonymous. But has the obsession with "giving back" made any difference at all? The successful businesses of the future will be the ones that figure out how to maximize profit as they maximize their positive impact on the world.