Nonprofit Board Responsibilities: 7 Keys to Long-Lasting Success

nonprofit accounting nonprofits Nov 29, 2022
Nonprofit Board Responsibilities


Board members are an essential component of an organization. Members should bring certain characteristics and experience to the board in order to ensure a viable and successful vision for the organization to follow. 

The 7 responsibilities that will be discussed are:

  1. Upholding the organization’s mission and purpose
  2. Creating a strategic plan for the organization’s future
  3. Providing resources
  4. Speaking on the organization’s behalf
  5. Supporting the Director and Chief Executive 
  6. Recruiting and assisting new board members
  7. Providing financial oversight   

Let’s take a look at how each of these board member responsibilities impacts the organization.

1. Upholding the Organization’s Mission and Purpose

As an organization grows and evolves, it is easy to get off track and lose sight of the original mission and purpose set forth at the founding of the organization. While pursuing different ideas and avenues, it’s easy for an organization to move away from what it set out to do. 

However, at the heart of it all, is the organization’s main mission - its reason for existing. 

For board members, it is imperative to fully understand the background and mission statement of the organization in order to ensure it is adhered to while providing a solid foundation to build on top of. 

2. Creating a Strategic Plan for the Organization’s Future

Keeping the purpose and mission in mind, board members should work with their team to forge a strong framework for the organization. This comes from building a strategic plan that will include:

  • The mission statement 
  • Current programs and services
  • New programs and services
  • Donor development and retention
  • Staffing
  • Financial management  

Knowing what the organization has set out to do, it is important that each of these pieces is developed and implemented with the overall vision of the organization in mind.

3. Providing Resources 

In order to ensure the longevity of the organization and to execute the plan above, board members will need to provide resources. These resources can come in the form of personal networks, personal time devoted to bettering the organization, financial commitments, and attending events. 

Having board members who are willing to provide one or more of these resources helps tremendously. 

4. Speaking on the Organization’s Behalf 

In addition to traditional marketing, word of mouth can be a very important tool. Board members will be asked to spread the word about the organization, its mission statement, core values, and overall vision. 

Members should also be community advocates and remember that they represent the organization’s values in any and all public settings. 

5. Support the Director and Chief Executive

Many times, a nonprofit will have directors whose duties require them to wear multiple hats. This can lead to each individual overseeing numerous tasks, even those outside of their normal purview. 

This is an area where board members can make a very large impact and help the director with what needs to be accomplished. 

6. Recruit and Assist New Board Members

Board members should always be on the lookout for potential members that can bring valuable new experiences to the nonprofit. Some things to consider when looking for new members:

  • What is the organization missing? By dialing in on shortcomings and deficiencies within the group, a more guided search can be made to build a well-rounded board.
  • Once weaknesses have been identified, begin a targeted search for individuals who bring experience in those areas. Board members should be fully invested in this search; actively seeking out potential candidates and conducting interviews with the intent to make the board as strong and well-versed as possible.
  • Members will discuss final candidates and make the decision on who is the best fit to bring into the organization.  

7. Provide Financial Oversight

The last and arguably most important role to be filled is financial oversight for the nonprofit organization. Board members should have a working knowledge of the nonprofit’s financial standing and areas of the organization where money is being spent as well as the avenues money is flowing in

It should also be noted that nonprofits have special tax status within the United States, and knowing the ins and outs of the laws pertaining to nonprofits is crucial to the organization’s overall success. 

In addition to knowledge of applicable tax laws, members will need to:

  • Read financial statements
  • Review budgets
  • Decide which major financial decisions should be approved or denied

The board has to be sure the financial plan is being followed on top of their other duties. As you can imagine, this can be quite difficult to manage when you consider all of the other responsibilities discussed above.  

To alleviate this financial burden on your board, and allow them to focus on improving the organization with their individual strengths, consider outsourcing your financial needs to Morris Verdonk Accounting. We help chambers, general business improvement areas, churches, rural utilities, and all nonprofits manage their finances so you and your board won't have to!

Contact us today so we can discuss what we can do for you and your organization!

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