Since Nonprofit board members are typically unpaid volunteers, this list of responsibilities is truly challenging. Therefore, Nonprofit leaders must make life for Board Members as easy as possible.
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 managing a Nonprofit Board of Directors.
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. Managing a Nonprofit Board of Directors successfully depends on a solid onboarding experience.
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.
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.
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 managing a Nonprofit Board of Directors, organizations can make the most of the talents, skills and connections of these dedicated Stakeholders.