Many good-intentioned nonprofit organizations fall apart because of one simple error that could easily be avoided: they blur the lines between the responsibilities of their board of directors and the responsibilities of their staff and volunteers.
The board of directors that oversees a nonprofit organization has a specific purpose that should not be mixed with the purpose of the staff and volunteers. When this happens, there is no solid structure through which the organization can operate, and everything might very well fall apart.
Following is an explanation of the board of directors’ key responsibilities.
Board of Directors’ Key Responsibilities: Momentum
For the most part, momentum is the responsibility of the board of directors because they are the support structure upon which the organization is laid. It is the responsibility of the board of directors to identify organizational goals and to ensure that the projects are moving forward. This may mean issuing orders and giving directives, or it may simply mean keeping an eye on performance.
Board of Directors’ Key Responsibilities: Program Development
Although staff members and volunteers may suggest and implement events and programs within the nonprofit organization, it is the responsibility of the board of directors to develop each program to its full potential. This might mean foreseeing problems, handling risk management and identifying goals or it might mean setting up an outline for each program and describing how they should be run.
Board of Directors’ Key Responsibilities: Managing Finances
Finances should be handled exclusively by the board of directors because mishandled funds could mean the end of the nonprofit organization. The board of directors will allocate funds, separate restricted and unrestricted income, pay employees and accept donations. They should be the only individuals who can access the bank accounts set up in the nonprofit organization’s name.
Board of Directors’ Key Responsibilities: Organizing Fundraisers
The board of directors are typically responsible for instigating, developing and organizing fundraisers, mostly because it has to do with money. Although staff and volunteers will likely run the actual event, the board of directors should work in the background, making sure that everything is done correctly.
Board of Directors’ Key Responsibilities: Delegating Duties
Although the board of directors may be the “head honchos” where the nonprofit organization is concerned, the members should still be comfortable with delegating duties as they see fit.
Board of Directors’ Key Responsibilities: Establishing Committees
Each facet of the nonprofit organization should have a committee chairman with staff and volunteers under him. It is the responsibility of the board of directors to establish those committees and to make sure that they are being run correctly.
Board of Directors’ Key Responsibilities: Promotion
It should be the responsibility of the board of directors to promote the nonprofit organization to the public. This might mean writing press releases, organizing press conferences, setting up television and radio time and writing articles for publications.