Board Member Roles & Responsibilities
1) Establish and advance the organization's vision, mission, and purpose
The organization’s vision is the founding members’ view of what they want the organization to be and what purpose it serves. The role of the board of directors is to enact that vision through strategic planning and ensure that the program and activities of the organization align with the current vision, mission, and purpose. Board members should embody the spirit of the organization's mission and purpose, and set an example for all other members of the organization.
2) Create a strategic plan and ensure it is followed
Board Members set the goals and objectives according to a strategic plan that guides the organization's progress and outlines how to achieve those goals. The strategic plan may be done annually, or every few years. Board Members monitor and evaluate the organization's progression based on reports received from management.
3) Ensure legal compliance and ethical integrity
All organizations have to abide by rules and laws. Board Members have a fiduciary duty to ensure that their organization is in full compliance with its legal obligations. Board Members must behave in a truthful, ethical manner and thus, set an example for others. Legal compliance also entails setting up policies to establish acceptable behavior such as the Whistleblower policy, Code of Conduct, and Code of Ethics.
4) Provide proper financial oversight
Board Members work together to establish a budget and ensure that there are proper internal controls in place for incoming and outgoing funds. The Board should also ensure there is a stringent and clear process for internal audits.
5) Ensure the organization maintains and appropriately manages resources
It is each Board Member's responsibility to ensure every part of the organization has adequate resources to meet its obligations and fulfill its mission. Board Members must carefully consider the most efficient way to allocate money and other resources for the benefit of the organization and its stakeholders. Nonprofit Board Members should expect to make regular donations to the organization and use their personal and professional network to advance the mission of the organization.
6) Strengthen the organization’s programs and services.
Board Members decide which programs best exemplify the organization’s mission. Board Members account for resources and competing interests to make decisions about whether their current and proposed programs and services align with the organization’s mission and purpose. When programs compete for funds and other support, Board Members must make tough decisions about priorities.
7) Enhance the organization's public standing
Reputation is an important factor in an organization’s functioning. The Board serves as a link between the company and its stakeholders. Every interaction with stakeholders presents opportunities to share the organization’s culture, mission, accomplishments, and goals. Stakeholders expect Board Members to be transparent and accountable. Organizations that operate openly and honestly enjoy the benefit of having a trusting relationship with their stakeholders.
8) Recruit, orient, and evaluate board member performance
Each Board Member is responsible for recruiting, nominating, and appointing new Board Members to fulfill and advance the organization's mission. Board Members must be as objective as possible about their own performances. Board Members also conduct an annual self-evaluation to identify their weaknesses and form a plan to improve overall Board Member effectiveness.
9) Hire, monitor, and evaluate the Chief Executive / Directors
Board Members must identify, recruit, and appoint the most qualified individual to serve as the Directors of the organization. The Board must write the Directors' job description, and consider the organization’s needs, strengths, and weaknesses when considering the skills and abilities that a leader can bring to help the organization move forward. The new Directors must have clear understanding of expectations for their first year of service.
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