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Board Job Descriptions

Society for Nonprofits

Society for Nonprofits is a leading resource for nonprofit professionals and has been helping nonprofit leaders increase their knowledge and grow the capacity of their organizations for more than 30 years. Just like our membership, we are mission driven. We strive to close gaps in knowledge, develop stronger nonprofit leaders and grow the capacity of nonprofit organizations.

Board Members At-Large


Society for Nonprofits board of directors is comprised of at least four members and no less than 15 members. Remaining legal requirements of the Board of Directors are listed in the organizational bylaws.

Society for Nonprofits’ Board of Directors is the governing body, overseeing vision, mission, and internal operations of the organization. Society for Nonprofits Board members are elected for two-year terms. Board members hold overall fiscal and managerial oversight responsibility for Society for Nonprofits. They are charged with the supervision and oversight of Society for Nonprofits’ mission. They are responsible for making decisions, delegating work, and assuring decisions are carried out in the manner intended. Ultimately, board members serve as ambassadors for Society for Nonprofits’ mission, inside and outside of organizational commitments.

Ten Basic Board Roles and Responsibilities1:
  1. Determine mission and purposes. It is the board’s responsibility to create and review a statement of mission and purpose that articulates the organization’s goals, means, and primary constituents served.
  2. Select the chief executive. Boards must reach consensus on the chief executive’s responsibilities and undertake a careful search to find the most qualified individual for the position.
  3. Support and evaluate the chief executive. The board should ensure that the chief executive has the moral and professional support he or she needs to further the goals of the organization.
  4. Ensure effective planning. Boards must actively participate in an overall planning process and assist in implementing and monitoring the plan’s goals.
  5. The board’s responsibility is to determine which programs are consistent with the organization’s mission and monitor their effectiveness.
  6. Ensure adequate financial resources. One of the board’s foremost responsibilities is to provide adequate resources for the organization to fulfill its mission.
  7. Protect assets and provide financial oversight. The board must assist in developing the annual budget and ensuring that proper financial controls are in place.
  8. Build a competent board. All boards have a responsibility to articulate prerequisites for candidates, orient new members, and periodically and comprehensively evaluate its own performance.
  9. Ensure legal and ethical integrity. The board is ultimately responsible for adherence to legal standards and ethical norms.
  10. Enhance the organization’s public standing. The board should clearly articulate the organization’s mission, accomplishments, and goals to the public and garner support from the community.
1 From Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards by Richard T. Ingram (BoardSource, Second Edition 2008)


  • Serve as a leading ambassador of Society for Nonprofits’ mission, programs, and services.
  • Agree to a two-year board term with the option of renewal for three consecutive terms.
  • Regularly attend and prepare for quarterly Board meetings and important related meetings.
  • Commit to professional development (one or two trainings are recommended per year either through Society for Nonprofits or other organizations).
  • Be a current or past member of Society of Nonprofits.
  • Volunteer for and willingly accept assignments and complete them thoroughly and on time.
  • Serve on at least one sub-committee, preferably as a chair, and attend committee meetings.
  • Make a serious commitment to participate actively in Board and other Society for Nonprofits work.
  • Prepare and approve necessary organizational policies.
  • Commit to an annual philanthropic commitment as determined by the individual board member and fundraise/recruit members on behalf of the organization.
  • Participate in annual self-evaluation of personal board service.
  • Participate in hiring and oversight process of the Executive Director.
  • Be knowledgeable about Society for Nonprofits’ mission, vision, programs, and events.
  • Stay informed about Board matters, prepare themselves for meetings, and review and comment on issues of importance.
  • Participate in creation of strategic plan and conduct annual review of the strategic plan.
  • Get to know other Board members and Society for Nonprofits stakeholders and build a collegial working relationship that contributes to consensus.
  • Respond to requests for feedback or decisions between meetings in a timely manner.
  • Understand financial statements or commit to learning about nonprofit financial oversight.

Qualifications for Service

  • Past or current engagement with Society for Nonprofits (e.g., partnership, membership, content providers, etc.)
  • Interest in and willingness to support Society for Nonprofits’ goals and objectives
  • Initiative
  • Integrity
  • Analytical ability
  • Sensitivity and awareness
  • Leadership
  • Sound decision-making ability
  • Planning skills
  • Ability to organize and monitor work
  • Collaborative
  • Ability to easily use email and other technology such as cloud services
  • Commitment to open and honest communication

Board members may serve as: At-Large Member (See Above), Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer, or Secretary.

Board Chairperson

In addition to the member-at-large responsibilities and in accordance with the organizational bylaws, the Board Chair shall ensure that all meetings are facilitated by a member of the Board of Directors. The Board Chair shall perform all duties customary to the office of the Chair:

  • Ensure facilitation of board meetings after developing the agenda with the Executive Director.
  • Actively recruits new board members and helps to retain current board members.
  • Partners with the Society for Nonprofits’ board members, advisors and volunteers in achieving the organization’s mission.
  • Provides leadership and direction to the Society for Nonprofits’ Board of Directors.
  • Encourages transparent communication between all Board members.
  • Helps guide and mediate Board actions with respect to organizational priorities and governance concerns.
  • Participates in the creation and implementation of the strategic plan.
  • Ensures that timelines are met and that parties are accountable to their responsibilities within the strategic plan.
  • Encourages board participation in the strategic planning process.
  • Communicates as needed with committee chairs to ensure that action items are met and that activities are in-line with the mission and vision.
  • Discusses issues affecting the organization with the Board and any other relevant parties.
  • Represents Society for Nonprofits as an ambassador for the mission at events and other activities.
  • Monitors financial planning and financial reports.
  • Plays a leading role in revenue generation activities including cultivation and stewardship.
  • Annually encourages evaluation of the board and the performance of the organization and its mission.
  • Approves committee chairs and charges committees with work as it relates to the strategic plan.

Board Vice Chairperson

In addition to the member-at-large responsibilities and in accordance with the organizational bylaws, the Vice Chair shall serve in the Chair's place in the event the Chair is unable to serve or perform duties delegated to the Chair. The Vice Chair may have such additional duties as delegated to him or her by the Board of Directors or the Chair:

  • In absence of Chair, coordinates facilitation of board meetings, ensures agendas and minutes are distributed, and implements the strategic plan.
  • Reports to the Board Chair.
  • Works closely with the Board Chair, board members, and organizational staff.
  • Helps the Board Chair to develop and implement office transition plans.
  • Performs other responsibilities as assigned by the board.
  • Serves as Governance Committee Chair as appropriate.
  • Actively recruits new board members and helps to retain current board members.
  • Provides leadership and direction to the Board of Directors.
  • Ensures transparent communication between all Board members.
  • Helps guide and mediate Board actions with respect to organizational priorities and governance concerns.
  • Represents Society for Nonprofits as an ambassador for the mission at events and other activities.
  • Plays a leading role in revenue generation activities.

Board Treasurer

In accordance with organizational bylaws, the Treasurer is primarily responsible for overseeing Society for Nonprofits’ finances. In addition to the board member-at large responsibilities, the Board Treasurer has the following responsibilities:

  • Oversees all revenues and expenses and creates financial statements (balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement) and communicates this information to the Board on a quarterly basis.
  • Works with the Society for Nonprofits’ staff and board to create the Society for Nonprofits’ budget draft and seeks approval from the board on annual budget.
  • Ensures development and board review of sound fiscal policies and procedures.
  • Acts as an official signer on the Society for Nonprofits’ bank account and works with Executive Director on large monetary distributions.
  • Oversees any financial agreements.
  • Participates in revenue generation activities including cultivation and stewardship.
  • Serves as the chair of the finance committee where applicable.
  • In cooperation with the board officers, accepts responsibility for filing annual tax forms as required by the state or the IRS.
  • Provides a full financial report to the board of directors annually.

Board Secretary

The Secretary is primarily responsible for coordinating the recording of board meeting minutes and maintaining organizational documents and records. In addition to the member-at-large responsibilities and in accordance with the organizational bylaws, the Secretary shall be responsible for:

  • Maintaining board records and ensuring effective management of the organization’s records.
  • Managing board meeting minutes: Collect and send a draft of the minutes to the Chair for approval and then send on to the rest of the Board. Minutes should reflect the activities of meetings in an objective manner, without unnecessary commentary. They should include the following information:
    • Who is present and absent
    • Agenda
    • Items discussed
    • Key issues raised
    • Votes and action items and
    • Any other relevant information
  • Ensuring minutes are distributed to members shortly after each meeting.
  • Maintaining sufficient familiarity with legal documents (articles, by-laws, IRS letters, etc.) to reference when necessary in board meetings.
  • Maintaining a chart of starting and ending dates for each Board member.
  • Working with the Executive Director to ensure all decisions and documents are consolidated in the Society for Nonprofits Handbook.

In the absence of the Secretary at any meeting, a secretary pro tempore shall be appointed by the presiding Officer.

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