A not-for-profit’s board of directors is responsible for developing and reviewing the organization’s mission and purpose as well as providing overall leadership and strategic direction. Boards typically consist of at least three members (but not more than 15) who are willing to commit their time and are genuinely invested in the organization’s mission. Many times, individuals will agree to serve on a board without realizing how much time is required or risk is involved. Board members may be expected to not only attend regular meetings, but also participate in the organization’s events.

As a new board member, it is important to gain a full understanding of your role and responsibility to the organization and to the public. New members should be provided with a clear set of expectations and responsibilities and copies of the organization’s bylaws, articles of incorporation and other key documents.

Responsibilities of boards and individual board members vary organization to organization. In addition to developing and reviewing the organization’s mission and purpose, the board is responsible for selecting the organization’s chief executive. Not only do they select this individual, but they must also determine and evaluate the responsibilities of this individual. Boards must provide financial oversight to the organization by approving the annual budget; ensuring proper financial controls are in place and reviewing financial data throughout the year. Always remember that the board and its members are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the organization is in compliance with all legal standards.

The most important responsibility of board members is that they must be willing to publicly advocate for their organization! Board members should be reaching out and developing relationships for the organization throughout the community.