Top Ten Things Board of Directors Do

Have you been asked to join a Nonprofit Board, but you’re not sure how to respond? Already on a Nonprofit Board and wondering if you’re on the right track? Read on, and soon you’ll understand what’s expected of you.

First and foremost, the law requires every nonprofit organization to be run by a Board of Directors. The Board holds the organization “in trust” – a legal term, meaning the Board is responsible for the legal and financial well-being of the organization.

Nonprofit Boards also ensures the public trust – an altogether different type of trust – by serving as community ambassador/advocate and seeing to it that funds are spent wisely and responsibly, and that the CEO manages day-to-day operations effectively.

The Nonprofit Board fulfills these responsibilities as both the entire Board of Directors as a whole, and also through the expectations of the individual Nonprofit Board member roles. Below takes you step-by-step through the top ten most important things that a Board of Directors does to fulfill their responsibility to the nonprofit organization that they serve.

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– A Sneak Peak Into “Top Ten Things Nonprofit Board of Directors Do”

Take an Inside Look at the Chapters of This Ebook:


1. Governance

Your role as a nonprofit Board member is to work collaboratively with the team to ensure effective organizational operations. Note that there’s a difference between the Board as a unit, and the Board member as an individual:
these terms are not…

2. Understanding Expectations Before Accepting Nonprofit Board Member Position

Before agreeing to “sign on,” you’ll want to be sure you understand both what’s expected of you and what the time requirements will be. You’ll be expected to attend Board meetings having reviewed the advance materials, prepared to
discuss them. In order to provide the necessary oversight, you’ll need to…

3. Adding Value and Expertise

Consider what it is that you bring to the table. Were you chosen because your skills will help achieve the organization’s goals? To meet its diversity requirements? Facilitate networking? Learn and grow professionally? Nonprofit Board members are chosen to add value to the organization in the form of…

4. Making Decisions on Behalf of the Organization

The Nonprofit Board makes decisions for the organization by voting as a group which must come to agreement in order to move forward. These decisions involve taking action on current issues. But, decisions are also made to help plan the future direction of the nonprofit.
The decision-making process of the Board must use a consensus model. Agreement across the…

5. Serving on Sub-Committees and Task Forces

In addition to the Board itself, sub-committees of the board or task forces associated with specific projects are necessary to accomplishing deliverables. It is expected that, as a Board member, you will serve on at least one sub-committee or task force. So, you should be aware of what that involves in terms of time and commitment.
What are the purpose and expectations of your committee? What staff support do you have? How much of your time is expected?
Meetings associated with these groups should also have…

6. Understanding How To Run Effective Board Meetings

Going beyond the point about having an agenda and making sure that all members have a chance to weigh in on the decision-making process, effective Board meetings allow a Board to fulfill its purpose. They should be structured to promote teamwork, reinforce a shared vision and the nonprofit’s mission, and connect the Board with the work of staff.
The meetings afford time to recount successes and also the stimulation of ideas for future successes as well. And they provide social interaction to bond the group together and foster…

7. Being Engaged and Involved in Fund Development

Nonprofit Boards are responsible for ensuring that funds are raised for the organization, as noted previously. The team directly responsible for the fundraising process is the Department of Development, Executive Director, CEO, and the Development Committee. But, the Board is still responsible for making sure everything possible is being done to accomplish this and bring in the…

8. Partnering and Collaborating with Other Organizational Members (E.G., Executive Management, Staff, Volunteers, Etc.)

An effective Board collaborates well with executive management and other members of the organization. The relationship should be a partnership, roles should be clearly delineated so there is no confusion. Nonprofit Board members will have a close relationship and frequent interaction with the CEO. The “CEO” is the Executive Director, President, Director, etc.
The individual in this position is both the leader of the organization but also subject to the Board’s authority. He or she is responsible for the day-to-day operations. But, the position reports to the Board. The Board hires, evaluates, and terminates him/her. The CEO hires, evaluates, and terminates all…

9. Developing Yourself as a Nonprofit Board Member

Serving on a Nonprofit Board is not just about accepting the position and showing up for meetings. An active, contributing Board member should also develop themselves to be able to offer more to the organization…

10. Evaluating Board Member Effectiveness

There may come a time when you question whether or not you are doing your best job as a Board member. Maybe the particular Board position is no longer right for you or you should no longer or cannot continue in the role for one reason or another. Or possibly your circumstances have changed and your time is now limited, Or you have outgrown the role. Or possibly it’s just time to step down.
Individual Board members should be cognizant of their own effectiveness, and the Board as a whole should…


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