There are many nonprofits who have great missions. They develop youth, feed the hungry, provide scholarships and the list goes on and on. The one thing these nonprofits have in common is a board of directors.
Some executive directors don’t understand exactly what their board is supposed to do. Sometimes, board roles and responsibilities are not fully understood and badly communicated.
There are 3 primary functions of any board.
- Provide Oversight
- Ensure Necessary Resources
Trusteeship — Safeguarding and managing resources so that the nonprofit is accountable to the community at large. The responsibility of maintaining public trust — is the single most important role. The board must determine the nonprofit’s vision, mission, and purpose; undergo strategic planning with staff to determine where the organization must go to ensure continued viability for the community and clientele served; and set policies for the nonprofit operations, service clientele, and major programmatic thrusts.
Provide Oversight — The board must attend meetings to stay engaged and provide leadership. This oversight responsibility requires the board to ensure legal and ethical integrity and maintain accountability; establish the budget — a key policy tool; determine, monitor and strengthen the organization’s programs and services; and support the executive director and review his or her performance.
Ensuring Necessary Resources — The task of fundraising belongs primarily with the board, not the staff. While the staff must be involved to support and coordinate funding activities, his or her major function is to manage the organization’s operations. To ensure necessary resources, boards must ensure adequate financial and physical resources, including raising/contributing money; enhance the organization’s public standing; select the executive director; manage assets effectively; and strengthen the board by recruiting and orienting members and assessing performance.
Of course, ensuring necessary resources responsibilities may vary depending on the size and fundraising needs of each organization and whether the organization has development staff or the board alone is responsible for raising money.
But regardless, fundraising should be front and center for your board of directors.
Remember, a great board of directors is critical to the success of any nonprofit organization. Without a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities, a board can go down a rabbit hole of micromanaging, not managing at all — basically chaos.
I hope this helps. Let me know in the comments. Sharing is Caring.
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