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Nonprofit Tips and Hints: Board Responsiblity

Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation
Published on February 20, 2015

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The Board of Directors plays a critical volunteer role in the success of any mission-based organization.  Anyone who is contemplating board work should familiarize yourself with this list.  Below is a tried and true list of Board responsibilities as developed by BoardSource.  Our nonprofits here in North Tahoe are always looking for new board members.  We would love to connect with you!

 The Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards

  1. Determine the Organization’s Mission and Purpose. The Board creates and reviews a statement of mission and purpose that articulates the organization’s goals, means, and primary constituents served.
  1. Select the Chief Executive. The Board takes the lead role in defining the chief executive’s responsibilities and then seeking, identifying, and selecting the executive director.
  1. Provide Proper Financial Oversight. The Board reviews and evaluates annual and long-term budgets and finances to ascertain that the organization’s funds are managed and expended in a fiscally sound manner.  The Board monitors reserve funds and endowments and insists on an annual audit.
  1. Ensure Adequate Resources. The Board plays a vital role in setting fundraising goals and then engaging in fundraising activities to identify, cultivate, and solicit funding sources to support operations and programs.  All Board members should make an annual gift aligned with their means.
  1. Ensure Legal and Ethical Integrity. The Board is ultimately responsible for adherence to legal standards and ethical norms, protecting the organization from legal actions and safeguarding the organization’s integrity in pursuit of its mission.
  1. Ensure Effective Organizational Planning. The Board collaborates with staff in long-range strategic planning, financial planning, and annual operating planning to ensure there are objectives and goals that can be measured and accomplished.
  1. Recruit and Orient New Board Members and Assess Board Performance. The Board substantively reviews its own performance and engages new Board members to ensure the long-term capacity of the Board to carry out its responsibilities and pursue the organization’s missions.
  1. Enhance the Organization’s Public Standing. Board members ensure an ambitious public relations program to ensure an accurate and healthy public image for the organization.
  1. Determine, Monitor, and Strengthen the Organization’s Programs and Services. The Board reviews, approves, and evaluates programs to ensure that the mission, purposes, and goals of the organization are being executed in a sound manner.
  1. Support the Chief Executive and Assess Their Performance. The Chief Executive needs consistent moral and substantive support from the Board through clear expectations, periodic assessments, guidance, and constructive feedback.

This information was taken from BoardSource and Booklet No.1 of the Governance Series by Richard T. Ingram, and repurposed for the Give Back Tahoe Sierra Sun Page.  See