Interview with Sarah Middleton, Senior Vice President, Global Corporate Citizenship at PIMCO; Executive Director, PIMCO Foundation
Board Member: Sisters of St. Joseph Healthcare Foundation

Choosing the right board: What are the three most important considerations?

When choosing a nonprofit board, the first most important consideration is passion for the mission. Does the mission resonate with you? Can you go “all in” for this organization? The second consideration is cultural fit. Do you get along with the nonprofit CEO, the Board Chair, and fellow board members? The third consideration is responsibility. Can you manage and meet the responsibilities being asked of you? If you have passion, if there’s a cultural fit, and if you’re ready for the responsibilities, then there’s a high degree of probability that it’s the right board for you.

The benefits of serving: What makes it worth it?

I like to say that board service is the biggest bang for your volunteer time. Board service is a high impact way to lend your time, talent and treasure. Through this kind of service, you can help solve social, environmental and economic challenges – and achieve a nonprofit’s greater potential.

Participating meaningfully and productively: What should you do to make the experience worthwhile for you and for the organization?

When you’re just getting started on a board, ask lots of questions and read as much as you can (bylaws, operating procedures, prior meeting minutes, etc.). Inquire with the organization’s CEO and Board Chair how you can best lend your skills and expertise. And volunteer to serve the organization’s clients – sometimes the best way to make the experience worthwhile is to get out in the field and fully understand the nonprofit’s mission and purpose.