Have you ever wondered what the board of directors for a nonprofit is supposed to be doing? What are their roles and responsibilities? How do I know if my board is functioning properly? The first step to having a functioning board of directors is to make sure all your board members know their roles and responsibilities. 

Board of Directors Job Description

Often times someone is appointed to a nonprofit board but that doesn’t mean that they automatically know what is expected of them as a board member. Having a laid out job description specifically made for your board of directors will help in making sure that your board members know what is expected of them. The following is a breakdown of the roles and responsibilities a board member has:

  • Create the vision and mission of the organization
    • As leaders of the nonprofit organization, a board member must understand the mission of the organization, and use this to put in place a vision for the organization. Based on the mission and vision that has been put in place by the board, work to establish goals and objectives that will help the executive director and staff members bring the mission and vision of the organization to fruition. 
  • Create policies and procedures for the organization
    • Board members create rules by which the organization operates. They also monitor to ensure that the executive director and staff are implementing these policies in their work. 
  • Oversee executive director
    • The board functions as the executive director’s boss. This includes hiring the right person for the job and supervises their work, and if necessary the firing of the exective director. 
  • Represent the community
    • Nonprofit organizations are created to serve their community therefore it is essential that board members know the needs and wants of the community they serve. These needs and wants should be kept at the forefront when making board decisions and choosing the direction that the organization is going to go. 
  • Represent the organization to the community
    • The same way board members a representatives for the community, equally as important is how a board member represents the organization. 
  • Oversee fiscal resources
    • This part is twofold, the first being to ensure that the organization has a financial plan that aligns with the missions and vision of the organization. Oversee the income and expenses of the organization and make sure that the money and resources of the organization are being used correctly and to the best of their ability. 
    • Part two is to ensure that the organization has the funds and resources to continue to function properly now and in the future. This includes fundraising, looking for sponsorships, and networking. 
  • Ensure legal compliance
    • Nonprofits are highly scrutinized especially when they are qualified and tax-exempt organizations. The board is responsible for keeping the organization in good standing with government authorities and donors who provide funding.
  • Skills Needed By Board Members

The following are just some skills that are beneficial for the members of your nonprofit’s board to have:

  • Be able to debate, while being respectful of different perspectives
    • One of the greatest positives about a board of directors is everyone is different, this can also be negative if your board members are unable to reach a consensus on differing opinions. The goal of every board member should always be what is best for the organization and its community. 
  • Focus on the big picture and don’t micromanage
    • If the board of directors has done a good job at setting up the goals and objectives, policies and procedures, and hiring the right executive director, it is now up to the executive director and staff to bring about the desired outcome. The board should let them do their part and get involved or make adjustments only if necessary. 
  • Maintain confidentiality
    • Often times a board of directors deals with sensitive and confidential topics, board members need to be able to maintain confidentiality and not reveal board discussion outside of the board. 
  • Avoid conflicts of interest
    • Every decision that is made as a board member needs to be done for the benefit of the organization and community. Personal gains or agendas should have no place in decision making. 

At your next board meeting have your board of directors job description on your agenda. Read them aloud in your meeting and discuss with your board members how to effectively execute each one. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page and avoid having any confusion. 

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