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Duties of the Board of Directors

June 11, 2010

As a general rule the board of directors of any nonprofit organization should be expected to develop the directives, mission statement and overall management strategy that will carry the nonprofit into the future.  It is crucial that they play an active role in raising funds, cultivating new donors and garnering new board members.

Over the course of the life of a nonprofit organization, the board of directors will likely pass through multiple stages. Through this evolution, the degree to which the board is involved in a hands-on capacity will vary. Ultimately, the longevity and effectiveness of the nonprofit will be determined in the very beginnings of the organization, and can be positively impacted by ensuring that each member is aware of his or her responsibilities. Whether acting as the body responsible for oversight or as active contributors, the board will:

  • Decide who they are going to serve.
  • Choose a chief executive.
  • Establish attainable goals that support achievement of the mission statement and decide how to implement those goals.
  • Oversee and stay informed of the organization’s finances.
  • Determine the different avenues for fundraising, including the type of donors that will be pursued.
  • Develop responsibilities and expectations for each board member, including deciding whether to enforce a give, get or get off policy and whether term limits should be imposed.
  • Meet at regular intervals to discuss progress and attend to new issues.
  • Implement a public relations plan which identifies specific methods of publicizing the organization to potential donors and the general community.

Board members should be selected based on their abilities and competency in carrying out the above responsibilities. All members of the board should share in the vision of the nonprofit organization, which includes raising funds and soliciting donations from donors to maintain the effectiveness and longevity of the nonprofit organization.

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