Board update

Woohoo, we have the board count that we need, plus one. They recommend keeping the numbers odd though, so we might need to hold out for one more. So far I have to admit that our board is female-heavy. Not that it’s bad, but where are the guys?

Next step to worry about, what does the board have to do? As we’ve said before this board’s purpose is to specifically help with organizing the start up needed for a pre-non profit. Our board will be helping with the preliminary needs so we can live up to our non-profit hopes and dreams, aka – the mission.

So far, the site has been pretty helpful on basic information for boards. I’ll probably be passing it on . . . .

Non-profit Board Responsibilities

Overview of Non-profit Board Governance

© Estela Kennen

A non profit’s board of directors has several important responsibilities to fulfill. This article reviews basic non-profit board governance.

A board of directors is the governing body of a non-profit organization. It has many serious responsibilities, which can be loosely categorized as follows:

1. Setting the policy for the organization. This is done by:

  • Creating or updating the mission and vision statements.
  • Determining the organization’s programs and services.
  • Approving the strategic plan.

2. Monitoring the organization’s operations:

  • Hiring and periodically evaluating the organization’s executive director.
  • Working with and providing support to the executive.
  • Approving the annual budget, annual report, etc.
  • Approving major contracts and grants.
  • Soliciting and reviewing program evaluations.
  • Troubleshooting as necessary.

3. Serving as a public figure for the organization

  • Fundraising, by directly donating to the non-profit and soliciting donations from others.
  • Advocating for the organization.

4. Fulfilling other board responsibilities

  • Documenting policies and decisions to create an organizational memory.
  • Preparing for and attending board meetings.
  • Researching and discussing issues before decisions are made.
  • Replacing and orienting board members when a vacancy arises.

A board of directors also has certain legal obligations, known as duties. While the details may vary from state to state, here are some common legal responsibilities for members of non-profit boards to:

  • Take reasonable care when making decisions for the organization (called “duty of care”)
  • Act in the best interest of the organization (called “duty of loyalty”)
  • Act in accordance with the organization’s mission (called “duty of obedience”)
  • Stand aside when there is a conflict of interest (called “recusal”)

While there a board has many responsibilities, there are also things it should avoid. Basically, board members should avoid being over- or under-involved. More specifically, the board of directors should not:

  • Concern itself with the day-to-day management of the organization. That is the executive director’s job.
  • Rubber stamp decisions. While the board should take the recommendations of the organization’s director, staff, and members into consideration, the board needs to be an independent decision-making body.

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