In my previous article, I laid out the overarching responsibilities of non-profit boards, which include big-picture strategic planning; selecting executive staff members; overseeing executive leadership; approving the organization’s budgets; overseeing compensation for staff members and leadership; and fundraising.
In this article, I will focus on the responsibilities of each individual board member.
As members of non-profit organizations’ governing bodies, individual board members must adhere to the legal responsibilities of fiduciaries. A fiduciary is a “person who has the power and an obligation to act on behalf of another under circumstances that require total trust, good faith and honesty.”
As fiduciaries, non-profit board members have three specific legal duties:
Long story short: board members must, at all times, act in the best interest of the non-profit organizations they represent.
In order to responsibly serve on a non-profit’s board, members should understand the organization’s mission, strategic vision and financial situation. That means reviewing:
Once new board members are initiated, they should review all provided information in advance of board meetings, including financial information, so that each member is prepared to make informed and responsible decisions.
Most non-profit boards have committees dedicated to specific organizational efforts. These committees vary based on the size and operations of each organization.
Individual board members should actively seek out committees relevant to their specific skill sets and interests.