What Are the Responsibilities of Individual Board Members?

Summary

This article from BoardSource shares a list of individual responsibilities and beneficial personal characteristics to help prospective board members explore what the role entails and better assess their interest in joining a nonprofit board.
 

Individual board member responsibilities

Attend all board and committee meetings and functions, such as special events.
  • Be informed about the organization's mission, services, policies, and programs.
  • Review agenda and supporting materials prior to board and committee meetings.
  • Serve on committees or task forces and offer to take on special assignments.
  • Make a personal financial contribution to the organization.
  • Inform others about the organization.
  • Suggest possible nominees to the board who can make significant contributions to the work of the board and the organization.
  • Keep up-to-date on developments in the organization's field.
  • Follow conflict-of-interest and confidentiality policies.
  • Refrain from making special requests of the staff.
  • Assist the board in carrying out its fiduciary responsibilities, such as reviewing the organization's annual financial statements.
 

Personal characteristics to consider

Ability to: listen, analyze, think clearly and creatively, work well with people individually and in a group.
  • Willing to: prepare for and attend board and committee meetings, ask questions, take responsibility and follow through on a given assignment, contribute personal and financial resources in a generous way according to circumstances, open doors in the community, evaluate oneself.
  • Develop certain skills if you do not already possess them, such as to: cultivate and solicit funds, cultivate and recruit board members and other volunteers, read and understand financial statements, learn more about the substantive program area of the organization.
  • Possess: honesty, sensitivity to and tolerance of differing views, a friendly, responsive, and patient approach, community-building skills, personal integrity, a developed sense of values, concern for your nonprofit's development, a sense of humor.
 

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