Board of Directors
The tasks of the Board of Directors are many and varied. They are responsible for deciding what actions the organization they represent will carry out, for example certain fundraising events, how the fiscal budget is to be used, and which policies work and don’t work within the organization. They set goals for the organization to achieve, both long term and short term, and strive to help them set strategy plans to make these goals a reality.
The planned growth of the organization is another task that falls on the shoulders of the members of the Board. They must always keep in mind the long-view and must concern themselves not only with the adequacies of the present programs, but with future program development, staffing problems, problems of space, facilities, equipment and supplies as well as changes in population, community demands, available programs and inflation. Volunteer positions are to be selected on a basis of skills required for the organization at any given time. Renewal is not only desirable, but essential for the health and well-being of the organization.
Senior staff positions are to be decided by the Board and the responsibilities of the position are to be clearly and unambiguously set forth. However, once the senior positions are filled, they must be allowed to administer the duties and responsibilities of their position. The Board may monitor but must allow the staff to do their jobs as outlined upon hiring.
As the organization continues to grow, the members of the Board are to take note and, consulting with senior staff, must ensure that the proper funding is allocated to ensure expansion, both internally and externally.
All governing Board members should consider themselves accountable for all funds coming into the organization. Fiduciary care means that all members have financial responsibility for the funds entrusted to the organization. Some of the ways the Board can fulfill this obligation are:
- Approve the organization’s budget and be familiar with the organization’s financial situation and commitments
- Signing authorization in all financial matters including annual audit
- Establish clear, unambiguous personnel policies that involve expenditure of funds and ensure that these policies are acted on by the Board as a whole, rather than by small groups of individuals
- Attend Board and committee meetings regularly and be familiar with the minutes of the Board and committee meetings that are reported in written form
- Treat the affairs of the organization as your own, yet avoid self-serving policies and conflicts of interest
- Be familiar with the organization’s goals and objectives, and insist that there be a well-established personnel development program with competent senior staff that do not overstep their authority
Some other tasks of the Board include upholding the public image of the organization through media and word of mouth, linking with other organizations to achieve a similar goal, ensuring the community approves the actions of the organization, evaluating the quality of the program and its employees, and ensuring the organization stays on target of its mission.
Finally, the members of the Board are responsible for themselves through Boardmanship. Boardmanship requires exceptional skill and interpersonal relationships as well as a clear understanding of the organization’s mission. Coupled with this, truly effective Board members must possess a realistic appreciation for what is desireable, possible and fair for all. Above all, it is to these ends that sincere Board members must commit themselves to work.