A board of directors is the governing body of a non-profit organization. Board members are usually volunteers, though sometimes, a stipend is provided to the board chair and treasurer to compensate them for their time. Directors meet as often as once a month and rarely less than quarterly. All non-profit boards of directors share certain responsibilities.
The board of directors monitors an organization’s fiscal management. The board reviews and approves the annual budget. The board answers to funding sources and donors. As such, the board must make sure that the non-profit's money is effectively and efficiently used. It is also the board of directors' duty to ensure that the organization has appropriate resources to meet its mission. The board must help raise additional funds when resources are not available. A budget or finance committee is often created to work closely on these issues and report back to the full board.
The board of directors reviews and selects an executive director to lead the organization. A committee or a contracted company often accomplishes this duty. The board must also agree to any proposed benefits offered to employees. An organization's staff generally completes all other personnel functions.
The board of directors evaluates the organization's effectiveness. They determine how well the mission is fulfilled, review plans for major programs, and ensure that the organization's values and visions are always at the forefront of any action. The board of directors, with input from the executive director and key employees, outline long-term plans for the organization.
The board of directors represents the organization to the public. Board members raise interest, awareness and funds. They must be able to effectively convey the organization’s mission and accomplishments to garner community support.
- “The Effective Nonprofit Board: Responsibilities and Recruitment”; Ann Lehman and Robert Zimmerman; 1998
- Boardsource.org: Knowledge Center Q & As
Heather Richards is a freelance web writer in Rhode Island. Richards has managed non-profits serving senior citizens and individuals with developmental disabilities for 12 years. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Public Administration from UNC Pembroke.