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Is Your Board of Directors Taking Their Tasks Seriously? Featured

Is Your Board of Directors Taking Their Tasks Seriously? Christina @

In most cases and in many cultures, boards of directors are the key representative of the stakeholders within organizations. They help them validate their financial results, protect assets, counsel the leadership on the strategy, find leaders, and hire new staff. Furthermore, they steer the organization towards a brighter, sustainable future by developing sound and ethical governance and financial management policies. For nonprofits, they ensure that there are adequate resources for advancing their mission. With all these roles, boards of directors have demanding responsibility that requires them to learn more about the organization and their operations so that they can advise the executives and know the company's mission and vision and how they can be achieved.

While all tasks are crucial for boards of directors, the most critical one is hiring and setting compensation for the CEO/director who runs the daily activities of an organization. When there are paid staff in place, board members are responsible for oversight, giving foresight and insight and scanning the horizons for more opportunities. For nonprofits, the role of board members includes fundraising and advocating for the nonprofit's mission.

Board members of nonprofits

Like for-profits, the board of directors for nonprofits has three main duties: caring, ensuring loyalty and obedience. In their duty to care, nonprofit boards are responsible for ensuring prudent use of assets and resources that include the facility, human resources and goodwill. Loyalty, on the other hand, entails ensuring the activities of charities and their transactions are in tandem with the mission of the organization and advance the vision, in addition to disclosing conflicts of interest and ensuring decisions are made for the best interest of the organization and not those of individuals within the board. Lastly, the duty of obedience helps ensure laws and regulations are adhered to drive the nonprofit's mission. 

As a nonprofit, on top of performing legal duties, boards of directors should also be responsible for securing the assets of the organization. They should play a key role in guiding the organization by contributing to its culture, effectiveness, financial sustainability and strategic focus. They also play the role of the nonprofits' ambassadors and advocates. As such, they are crucial resources for the organization.

Nonprofits should ask critical questions regarding their boards. For instance, you need to ask yourself how your board compares with the others. How does it help as an advocate in furthering your mission? What are the governance challenges that your board is facing? In short, ensure your new board members starts on the right foot by developing a sound orientation program that introduces their basic roles and responsibilities while serving as the board member of the nonprofit. Include the issues connected to your nonprofit's mission and provide information on governance policies so that members of your board are reminded of their legal duties. Furthermore, they need to understand the practices of accountability, like disclosing their conflicts of interest.

Create a work plan for your board based on each calendar year. Ensure that you review and identify when the compensation for the members will be undertaken when the budget will be adopted, and when the new board will be elected. Furthermore, you can consider asking board members to volunteer on various committees.

When recruiting the board members, use the board member contract to ensure that everyone clearly understands the terms and the duration of their service to your nonprofit.

As far as the board's efficiency is concerned, the most important thing is to educate board members on what it takes to be a great member. Develop proper programs and encourage them to join webinars and in-person training on governance, roles and responsibilities. 

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Scott Koegler

Scott Koegler is Executive Editor for PMG360. He is a technology writer and editor with 20+ years experience delivering high value content to readers and publishers. 

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