Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards
the Organization's Mission and Purpose. A statement
of mission and purposes should articulate the organization's
goals, means, and primary constituents served. It is the board
of directors' responsibility to create the mission statement
and review it periodically for accuracy and validity. Each
individual board member should fully understand and support
the Executive -- Boards must reach consensus on the
chief executive's job description and undertake a careful
search process to find the most qualified individual for the
the Executive and Review His or Her Performance --
The board should ensure that the chief executive has the moral
and professional support he or she needs to further the goals
of the organization. The chief executive, in partnership with
the entire board, should decide upon a periodic evaluation
of the chief executive's performance.
Effective Organizational Planning -- As stewards
of an organization, boards must actively participate with
the staff in an overall planning process and assist in implementing
the plan's goals.
Adequate Resources -- One of the board's foremost
responsibilities is to provide adequate resources for the
organization to fulfill its mission. The board should work
in partnership with the chief executive and development staff,
if any, to raise funds from the community.
Resources Effectively -- The board, in order to remain
accountable to its donors, the public, and to safeguard its
tax-exempt status, must assist in developing the annual budget
and ensuring that proper financial controls are in place.
and Monitor the Organization's Programs and Services
-- The board's role in this area is to determine which programs
are the most consistent with an organization's mission, and
to monitor their effectiveness.
the Organization's Public Image -- An organization's
primary link to the community, including constituents, the
public, and the media, is the board. Clearly articulating
the organization's mission, accomplishments, and goals to
the public, as well as garnering support from important members
of the community, are important elements of a comprehensive
public relations strategy.
as a Court of Appeal -- Except in the direst of circumstances,
the board must serve as a court of appeal in personnel matters.
Solid personnel policies, grievance procedures, and a clear
delegation to the chief executive of hiring and managing employees
will reduce the risk of conflict.
Its Own Performance -- By evaluating its performance
in fulfilling its responsibilities, the board can recognize
its achievements and reach consensus on which areas need to
be improved. Discussing the results of a self-assessment at
a retreat can assist in developing a long-range plan.