Better Nonprofit Board of Directors Management: Six Best Practices

Better Nonprofit Board of Directors management is always on the minds of forward-thinking Not-for-Profit leaders.

The Board of Directors (BOD) represents one of the most important Stakeholder groups of any Nonprofit.

The responsibilities of the Board are:

Formulate and update the organization’s mission

Establish a framework for overall governance, including policies and a code of ethics

Create and oversee an ongoing plan of concrete steps to achieve the mission

Devise the annual business plan in conjunction with the organization’s staff.

Oversee financial and operation performance

Approve major initiatives

Serve as overall ambassadors for the organization and its mission to the community

Assist in fundraising, recruitment and support of staff leadership

Since Nonprofit board members are typically unpaid volunteers, this list of responsibilities is truly challenging. Therefore, better Nonprofit Board of Directors management aims to make life for Board Members as easy as possible. 

Six Nonprofit Board Management Best Practices

Written Job Descriptions and Commitment Agreemen

Board Members need to know what is expected of them. Detailed job descriptions spell out responsibilities and expectations. Another essential document is a signed Commitment Agreement in which the Board Member personally agrees to live up to the expectations of the job description. This is a fundamental tenet of better Nonprofit Board of Directors management.

 Financial Contribution Expectations

One of the primary commitments of a Board Member is financial support of the organization. This needs to be clearly spelled out in the Commitment Agreement. The Nonprofit benefits from the contribution of time and talent. However, financial contribution needs to an expectation as well. Not only does the organization benefit financially, but Board Members also need to set an example for giving that positively influences the culture of the organization.


New Board Members need to get up-to-speed quickly so their contributions can benefit the organization as soon as possible. Nonprofit leaders need to prepare a detailed program that orients newcomers to the Board that covers everything they will need to know to be successful. Better Nonprofit Board of Directors management depends on a solid onboarding experience.

Professional Meetings

Board meetings are a primary way Board Members interact with the organization. To show these Stakeholders respect and appreciation for their commitment, Nonprofit Leaders need to be disciplined in meeting planning and conduct. A clear agenda sent well before the meeting is a requirement. Starting and ending the meeting on time as well as controlling the conduct of the meeting also are crucial. Doing these things will inspire the Board to feel confident in the organization’s leadership team.

Provide Resources and Support

An important part of a Board Member’s role is to advocate for the Nonprofit in the community and among her or his network. This includes fundraising. To do this most effectively, Board Members need support from the organization. Providing various materials, training, expert support, and tools like software can make Board Members’ jobs easier and allow them to deliver optimal impact.

Opportunities to Improve

Most Nonprofit Board Members are committed volunteers who believe in the organization’s mission. One way to show appreciation to the Board is to provide them with opportunities for personal and professional improvement. Not only will it help them be better Board Members but it will also help them in their careers and personal lives.

By following these best practices for better Nonprofit Board of Directors management, organizations can make the most of the talents, skills and connections of these dedicated Stakeholders.

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