Board Member Roles and Responsibilities

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oard management is a critical part of nonprofit success and, when done correctly, can enhance your organization’s overall mission. One of the most important factors in the management process is to ensure that board members understand their respective roles and associated responsibilities. This can be done by creating clearly defined board member job descriptions.

These job descriptions are a vital part of recruiting and managing board members, so take the time to thoughtfully prepare and detail the most important criteria for your organization. When drafting a description, consider the expectations of the board overall, as well as for each individual board member.

There are a number of overarching responsibilities and expectations to consider. For example, a nonprofit board should be responsible for:

  • Helping to determine the organization’s mission and purpose
  • Actively participating in strategic and organizational planning
  • Instituting sound financial management and fiduciary supervision
  • Selecting and evaluating the performance of the Executive Director/CEO
  • Participating in fundraising
  • Monitoring the organization’s services and programs
  • Assessing the Board’s performance
  • Enhancing the organization’s public image

From this list, your organization can add, edit and include other important criteria that are specific to your mission and needs.

When formulating descriptions for individual board members, the points included will vary from one position to another. However, there are a few major responsibilities that apply universally. For example, board members should:

  • Understand and stay abreast of the organization’s financial statements
  • Be able to articulate the organization’s mission, programs, and policies
  • Be active advocates for the organization
  • Support the organization by leveraging connections, networks, and resources
  • Prepare for, and attend, board meetings
  • Participate in committee work, i.e. Finance and Audit
  • Support the organization financially

Additionally, be sure to clearly define the position title, length of term, board reporting relationship, and time commitment for the role.

Board position descriptions are used to set clear expectations about your nonprofit’s needs, and the level of responsibility that must be upheld by your board members. The more support you have from your board of directors, the more you can focus on your mission and doing more good.

If your organization is currently seeking new board members, Mission Edge partners with local corporations to match their skilled workforce with nonprofit board opportunities. Fill out our interest form to get started, or contact Alicia Quinn, Director of Programs, at Alicia@missionedge.org with any questions.

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