Board members of non-profit organizations have serious, legal responsibilities that fall into two categories:
1. Set Policy.
With a proper policy & procedures manual (read & understood by all board members), much of the detailed running of the organization will be covered and thus, eliminating snap decisions, frustrating board bickering, and conflicting agendas.
Board members focus on the “big picture”: i.e., vision and direction of the organization and its continuation and sustainability (see #2) funded).
2. Insure the Financial Stability of the Organization.
In other words, provide the funds necessary to balance the organization’s operating budget.
A third function is to hire the Executive Director. Once the ED is hired, all daily operation of the organization falls under his/her jurisdiction. Board members do not get involved in management responsibilities.
As board members, you have a legal contracts with the Executive Director and you are financially responsible. If necessary, you will write personal checks to cover their salaries and fees based on these contracts.
All other debts and/or deficits for programs, special events, normal operating expenses, etc. incurred by board members or staff are ultimately the responsibility and debt of board members.
Board Member Qualifications
When searching for board members, it would behoove you to make sure they possess ALL of the following traits:
! Leadership abilities (Understand how to run and control a meeting; have a working knowledge of Robert’s Rules; lead by example, motivate members, write personal checks to cover operating costs.)
! Proven Fund Raiser (Understand fund raising principles, follow through with assigned fund raising tasks; have raised substantial money in the past; know and interact with influential people.)
! Education in and Experience of the inner workings of a non-profit organization (has successfully worked with other non-profits as staff, as counsel, or as an effective board member; has a degree in an area that benefits non-profit organizational development and/or management.)
! And, most importantly — Processes the desire and ability to open their personal and professional checkbooks when assistance in balancing the budget is necessary.
Make an IMPACT!
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