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Roles and Responsibilities of a Nonprofit's Board of Directors

Part of the Nonprofit Kit For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Every nonprofit organization is overseen by a group of people called the board of directors. These generous board members agree to accept responsibility for making sure the nonprofit organization remains true to its mission and purpose.

A board's primary governance responsibility is fiduciary, or to uphold the public trust, meaning:

  • Paying close attention to what's going on and making decisions based on good information

  • Putting the welfare of the organization above other interests when making decisions

  • Acting in accordance with the nonprofit's mission and goals

Active governance as a board member involves:

  • Reviewing the mission statement and goals of the organization on a regular basis

  • Participating in planning

  • If the organization has paid staff, hiring the executive director and reviewing his or her job performance

  • Reviewing the organization's budget and keeping well informed of its financial situation

  • Raising money for the organization

  • Setting, evaluating, and — if necessary — revising policies

  • Serving as an ambassador for the organization — making more people aware of its work

  • Recruiting additional board members and volunteers

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Nonprofit Kit For Dummies Cheat Sheet


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