~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism
are volunteers, too!
Look here for infomation
and the latest techniques to develop your board or committee.
The purpose is to help those who work or serve on nonprofit boards
of directors or committees.
- Job Description for Board Members
ARE VOLUNTEERS, TOO
No one was born knowing how to
serve on a board. And yet many boards act as though they think
this is so. They give the impression that they feel that it is
patronizing to require an orientation session for new board members.
Few boards give their members job descriptions; few manage to
get everyone together for a yearly board retreat; and few evaluate
themselves (see the article published on the March Volunteer Today).
So people of goodwill go on boards
and frequently spend a year or so trying to figure out their role.
"If I talk too much; I'll turn people off". "If
I talk too little, they will think I'm stupid." They spend
nights thinking "should I have said something about that
issue? I don't think what they did was right." And often
they leave a term of board service dissatisfied with themselves
and the experience. Sometimes they even stop attending meetings.
They don't even understand that the board of which they are a
member is legally responsible for the organization and that they
are negligent if they do not participate in its important decisions.
The following is my job description
for board members.
of Board Members
- Help articulate the vision,
mission and strategic plan for the organization.
- Understand that the board is
legally responsible for the sound management (financial, program,
personnel, insurance and property) of the organization and compliance
with governmental regulations.
- Help determine policy.
- Monitor the implementation of
policy, the strategic plan and the success of programs.
- Keep informed about the organization's
- Approve and monitor the annual
- Hire, evaluate (yearly) and,
if necessary, fire the executive director.
- Be familiar with, adhere to
and recommend necessary amendments to the bylaws of the organization.
- Attend board meetings, the annual
meeting and the board retreat.
- Participate in an orientation
- Serve on committees as needed.
- Read all advance materials before
coming to the board meeting.
- Hold in confidence within the
board personal information learned about clients, members, staff
or other board members.
- Hold in confidence board discussions
of personnel, property negotiations and legal matters.
- State any conflicts that arise
during the member's tenure on the board, and make sure the minutes
of the meeting reflect the statement of those conflicts and appropriate
abstentions from voting.
- Remember that the member's major
job is to govern and to do so in an attitude of reasonable care,
honesty and good faith.
- Take the initiative and communicate
ideas to the board chair.
- Share expertise with the organization.
- Don't micromanage and meddle
in staff work but communicate any concerns to the board chair
of the organization.
- Advocate for the organization
with the community.
- Encourage and support volunteer
involvement in the work of the organization.
- Look for new leadership to recommend
to the nominating committee and encourage new people to accept
- Support organization-sponsored
events with money and attendance.
- Contribute to the financial
stability of the organization and encourage others to do so.
- Visit organization-sponsored
- Participate in a yearly evaluation
of the board's operations
The job description of the Board Chair and the Executive Director.
Jeanne H. Bradner
is an author, consultant,
trainer and speaker on volunteerism, board development and leadership.
She is the author of three publications, Passionate Volunteerism,
The Board Member's Guide, A Beneficial Bestiary and Leading
Volunteers for Results: Building Communities Today. She
served as director of the Illinois Governor's Office of Voluntary
Action, Midwest Regional Director of ACTION, and Executive Director
of the Illinois Commission on Community Service. She is the volunteer
program specialist for Illinois' Harper College Volunteer Management
Send your comments and
questions to Jeannebrad@aol.com.
by Nancy Macduff.
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