Non-Profit Executive Director Vs. Board Members Responsibilities

by Je' Czaja; Updated September 26, 2017
Boards may not be aware of their responsibilities.

In general, the non-profit Director is considered to be an employee of the organization, hired and evaluated by the Board of Directors. The Director provides day-to-day leadership of the organization and reports to the Board. The Board is responsible for fulfilling the mission of the organization, ensuring that the Director has the resources to do his or her job, and for promoting the organization at every opportunity.

Responsibilities of the Director

According to Free Management Help, the Director advises the Board, keeping them informed of developments and advising them on possible strategies. He or she supervises any employees to ensure smooth and efficient day-to-day operations. The Director is the public face of the organization, representing it to clients, contributors and the community. Directors formulate policies and make planning recommendations to the Board for their approval. Financial oversight is also provided by the Director, as well as helping with Board development tasks such as recruiting new Board members and orienting them to the mission and procedures of the organization.

Responsibilities of the Board

According to Board Source, it is the Board’s responsibility to determine the organization’s mission and purpose, which is recorded in the organizing documents. As the organization progresses, the Board should be vigilant to make sure that the organization is on target with its planned activities. The Board supports and evaluates the Director, ensuring that he or she has the resources needed to further the goals of the organization. Board members should be prepared to participate actively by attending meetings faithfully and completing committee assignments as needed.

Fund Raising

Some organizations are large enough to have a full-time Development Director who manages fund raising activities. Ultimately, the Board is responsible for raising money, but in practice, the Director will play a big, though not exclusive, part in this essential activity.

Promoting the Organization

While everyone on the staff is responsible for promoting the organization at all times, ultimately the Board of Directors is responsible for this activity, by participating in organizational activities and also while working in the community.

Common Issues

Sometimes Board members regard their positions as honorary instead of participatory, which puts too much pressure on the Director to be responsible for all the tasks involved in running an organization. Sometimes Board members think they should be involved in day-to-day operations of the organization, such as supervising staff and overseeing office procedures. This is outside the limits of Board responsibility. Many issues can be resolved by periodic evaluations, such as the evaluation checklist provided by Free Management Help.

About the Author

Je' Czaja has been writing and illustrating curricula, workbooks, newspaper articles and weekly columns for over 20 years. Her articles have been published in the "St. Augustine Record," the "Valdosta Daily Times," the "Sarasota Herald Tribune" and other regional newspapers. She attended Ringling School of Art, Charter Oak State College, and has a master's degree from the University of Metaphysics.

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