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Frequently Asked Questions

These are some questions we hear often from candidates about the Diversity in Leadership Ottawa program and serving on a Board of Directors. Have another question? Contact us here.

What types of not-for-profits are using the DLO program for recruiting?

Organizations that have recruited through DLO vary in size and scope, but they all have some local connection. We get postings from not-for-profits that work in specific neighbourhoods or on city-wide initiatives. Because Ottawa is the national capital, DLO also hosts opportunities with organizations that are based in Ottawa but may have a regional or national scope to their work. You can see some testimonials from organizations that have used DLO to build diversity on their Boards here.

We’ve successfully matched candidates to the boards of large international organizations and tiny neighbourhood groups. Whether you’re looking to build a local network or to join a national conversation, DLO can help you find a great place to serve!

What’s the time commitment?

Serving on a Board of Directors often requires a minimum time commitment of 5 hours a month. This would include a monthly board meeting (2-3 hours), some time to read documents and prepare for the meeting (1-2 hours), and some time after the meeting to follow up on action items (1-2 hours). Most boards that recruit through DLO are asking for 5-10 hours per month.

Working boards, where boards members are directly involved in the operations of the organization, may require 10-15 hours a month or more.

How will I find out about opportunities?

DLO staff will contact you directly about opportunities that we believe are particularly well-suited to your skills and interests. You will also receive weekly updates of the current opportunities. Simply reply to alert DLO staff of your interest in a particular opportunity.

Do I have to have experience serving on a Board of Directors?

No. DLO is committed to building capacity and supporting emerging leaders in not-for-profit governance. Our comprehensive training will give you the skills and confidence you need to join your first Board of Directors.

Is there training offered?

Yes! We offer two levels of comprehensive training on not-for-profit governance. Start with Board Basics to get an overview of what is entailed in serving on a Board of Directors for a not-for-profit organization. In this course, you’ll also have a chance to reflect on how to decide if a Board opportunity is right for you.

Then move on to Beyond Board Basics. This course takes you deeper into best practices in not-for-profit governance and equips you with knowledge and skills to contribute to the long-term success of your organization.

Both courses are offered several times a year as in-person full-day workshops with experienced facilitators, as well as convenient self-directed online courses. Choose the format that works best for your learning style or do both!

How long will it take for me to be matched to a board?

It depends on a few factors. First, it depends on what kind of opportunity you are looking for. If you are only open to organizations that work in a specific field, it may take some time before an opportunity arises. Remember that most organizations recruit for their Board of Directors only once a year.

Second, it depends on your skill set. Often organizations are recruiting to fill specific skills gaps on their boards, trying to recruit new directors with expertise in human resources, for example. An organization may be recruiting for only one position, or they may be looking to fill several positions in a given recruitment cycle. Some skills are in high demand, like fundraising or financial experience, and postings for those skills are more frequent.

Third, it depends on the organization’s internal recruitment process. Organizations often hold interviews and may invite candidates to events or board meetings to get to know each other better. You may just need to be nominated and confirmed, or there may be a formal, even competitive election process. Once you have decided to pursue an opportunity with an organization you like and that suits your skills and experience, it may takes weeks or months before you could join the Board and get to work. Our advice is to be patient and wait for the right opportunity. Serving on a Board of Directors is a big commitment, and not one that should be rushed.

Will I be paid to serve on a Board of Directors?

No. Serving on a not-for-profit Board of Directors, while highly rewarding, is strictly a volunteer position and is unpaid.

Do you match candidates to for-profit or corporate Board of Directors?

Not at the moment. Our current focus is strengthening the not-for-profit sector in Ottawa through better governance, and we only recruit for volunteer roles with not-for-profit organizations.

When I try to sign up, I see an error message: **ERROR: unknown membership type: Candidate. What is the problem?

You are seeing this error message because you are registered in the Volunteer Ottawa (VO) Volunteer Pool and are logged into your VO account. You will need to log out of VO in order to create your DLO profile. You will only have to do this once because DLO candidates do not log in to view opportunities - they will be shared with you via email. Unfortunately, we are not able to link VO accounts and DLO profiles. Log out of your VO account by clicking on "Log out" in the upper right-hand corner of your screen.