This is a guest post from our friends at BoardEffect.
You know that a board can be integral to the success of your organization, but you may be wondering how. Boards have many responsibilities to uphold and this is our list of the top 3 which is compiled from a book we like called Governance as Leadership.
- Monitor organization performance and hold management accountable: According to The Bridgespan Group in an article written from BoardSource material, “Fiduciary duty requires board members to stay objective, unselfish, responsible, honest, trustworthy, and efficient.” Board members are not required to be CFOs of organizations but they need to have a general understanding of financial documents. The board should be able to set up and monitor financial indicators, enact control mechanisms to prevent fraud and conflicts of interest and hold management responsible if these procedures are not upheld.
- Develop and conserve the organization’s resources – both funds and facilities: While management is responsible for fundraising to an extent, it is also a major board responsibility. According to an article by NAMI, the board can influence large donors, monitor and guide fundraising activity and open doors to new funding opportunity. Once board members have brought the funding resources into the organization, they also have to conserve them and manage them effectively. Board members are entrusted with public trust so to uphold this, they are held to higher standards than an average organization. This goes beyond just the dollars and cents. This expands to facilities the organization uses as well.
- Set the organization’s mission and overall strategy and modify both as needed: Helping to set an organization’s mission and ensuring that the organization is working toward mission fulfillment is one of the most essential roles of a board member. Expressing an organization’s mission using concise and clear terms can prove to be a challenging process that involves various stakeholders including the board, staff, volunteers and even additional parties to conceive a statement about their collective vision for the organization. While this process can be challenging and requires time and effort, this well-crafted mission statement will provide both direction and purpose for the organization as well as motivating and encouraging staff members and volunteers to give their time and donors to give to the organization. It also provides a way of evaluating organizational achievement.
While the board is charged with many responsibilities, we think these three areas are good areas to focus your nonprofit board efforts to set yourself up for success.