A new year means new opportunities to make a difference in your community. One of the best ways to do this is by serving on a board or commission. Being a board member is a great way to meet new people, develop new relationships and be more civically engaged. It can also help you step out of your comfort zone to pursue more leadership roles in the future.
When a vacancy occurs on a citizen board or commission, it is an opportunity to seek out new voices to contribute to the dialogue on community issues. Whether they are looking to add more diverse opinions and ideas, or find someone with specialized knowledge relevant to a specific task, boards are always looking for new members that can offer more insight.
Learning About Boards and Commissions
Boards and commissions are advisory or regulatory groups that work with many cities and counties. Regulatory groups set licensing standards and professional requirements for members. Advisory groups provide guidance to the program or agency with which they are affiliated. Board and commission members are unpaid volunteers. Examples of boards or commissions in Sandy Springs include the Board of Appeals, the Planning Commission and the Board of Ethics.
Who Can Apply?
Some boards require members to have a certain level of subject matter expertise, while others require few qualifications. In most circumstances, boards are looking for individuals who possess certain qualities. Teamwork, creative thinking skills and the ability to communicate effectively are all helpful characteristics of an effective board or commission member.
An emphasis on diversity has led some cities to make a conscious effort to engage underrepresented populations in hopes that more individuals from these communities will join boards & commissions to share their ideas.
To learn more about available boards & commissions in Sandy Springs, follow the link below.
- More Info: Sandy Springs Boards & Commissions
Applying to Boards and Commissions
Those who review your application will appreciate that you recognize the importance of the board to the community. Understanding the board’s purpose & goals will help you structure your application in a manner which highlights your skills, knowledge and expertise as they relate to the work of the board. Below are suggestions of the things you should do when applying for a position:
- Understand the purpose of the board or commission
- Determine the types of issues the group discusses and reviews
- Research the level of commitment that is involved
- Attend a meeting or event to gain a better understanding of how the board operates
- Meet with current or past board members; this information is usually available on the city’s or county’s website
Many boards and commissions have web pages linked to the official city or county government website. Check the board or commission web page to review materials of the organization, such as minutes, newsletters, strategic plans and annual reports.
Communicating Your Interest
To increase your chances of being selected, you should voice your interest. Popular ways to publicize your desire are:
- Contacting your city council representatives or county commissioner
- Using social media such as Facebook and Twitter to get the word out
Speaking with current board members and staff is also a great way to express your desire to be selected. When you are actively promoting yourself to be on a board, be direct and explain why you think you are the candidate that would be an asset to the board. Directly ask the staff person or board member to review your application.
Furthermore, providing public comment is a great way to show that you have interest in city/county policy and that you can articulate your thoughts, while also having an open mind.
Go For It
You’ll never know the type of impact you can have unless you pursue the opportunity. Your ideas could be the next step toward creating a better future for our community. What are you waiting for?