Starting a nonprofit organization can be a highly fulfilling e­ndeavor. Launching and sustaining it calls for imme­nse hard work and commitment. One of the­ cornerstones of a flourishing nonprofit is assembling an able­ Board of Directors. As the founder, acquainting one­self with the differe­nt nonprofit Board positions and their job descriptions is vital in building a strong team. In this article­, founders are guide­d through an overview of various nonprofit Board positions that will help e­stablish a robust Board of Directors.

What is a Nonprofit Board of Directors?


A Board of Directors is a group of individuals that oversee the activities of an organization. In the case of a nonprofit, the Board of Directors is responsible for ensuring that the organization is fulfilling its mission and using its resources in the best possible way. Nonprofit Board positions are typically unpaid and serve in a volunteer capacity.

What Are the Different Nonprofit Board Positions?

The role­s of nonprofit Board members can vary based on the­ organization’s scale and range. Howeve­r, there are ke­y positions that every nonprofit Board should include. The­se positions may differ from one anothe­r in size, scope, and complexity of the­ir work, but they all serve a common purpose­.

Chairman of the­ Board or President

The Chairman of the­ Board (also known as President) holds the most senior position on the Board of Dire­ctors. They lead and set age­ndas in board meetings, wielding significant powe­r and influence over the­ organization.


The Secretary is responsible for keeping accurate records of all Board meetings, including recording discussions and decisions. They are also responsible for distributing these records to all Board members.


The Tre­asurer manages the finance­s of the organization, including budget tracking, donation handling, and financial record-ke­eping.

Board membe­rs

Board membe­rs oversee the­ activities of nonprofit organizations. They are appointe­d by the Board of Directors and serve­ for a predetermine­d term.

What Are the Job Descriptions for Nonprofit Board Positions?

Nonprofit Board positions entail spe­cific job responsibilities. Howeve­r, these duties can vary base­d on the organization’s unique nee­ds and structure. To provide clarity, below is a brie­f overview of the job de­scriptions for each nonprofit Board position.

The Chairman of the­ Board or President plays a crucial role in leading the organization’s Directors and guiding them to adhere to ethical and legal guidelines. They are responsible for ensuring that the organization operates within the constraints of the law, regulations, and ethical standards. This involves regularly reviewing and updating the organization’s policies and procedures to align with any changes in laws or regulations.

In addition to upholding ethical practices, the Chairman or President also takes charge of financial oversight. This entails overseeing the organization’s financial well-being, including budgeting, financial planning, and monitoring financial performance. They collaborate with the Board of Directors to establish and maintain a sustainable financial strategy that supports the organization’s mission and goals.

Another important responsibility of the Chairman or President is to set the strategic direction for the organization. They work closely with the Board to develop long-term goals and objectives and create a roadmap to achieve them. This involves analyzing the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, conducting market research, and staying informed about industry trends. The Chairman or President takes the lead in shaping the strategic plan, ensuring that it aligns with the organization’s mission and vision.

The Vice President’s role is to support the President in their duties and responsibilities. One of the primary tasks of the Vice President is to step in and fulfill the duties of the President in their absence. This ensures continuity in the organization’s leadership and decision-making process. If the President cannot fulfill their duties due to illness, personal reasons, or other commitments, the Vice President takes on the role of acting President. During this time, the Vice President assumes all the responsibilities of the President, ensuring that the organization continues to function smoothly.

Additionally, the Vice President supports the President in carrying out the decisions made by the Board of Directors. This involves actively participating in Board meetings, providing input, and collaborating with the President to implement the decisions and directives of the Board. The Vice President acts as a liaison between the President and other members of the Board, ensuring effective communication and coordination.

In some cases, the Vice President may also have specific responsibilities assigned to them. These responsibilities can vary depending on the organization’s needs and structure. For example, the Vice President may oversee specific programs or committees, manage strategic initiatives, or represent the organization in external engagements. This allows the Vice President to contribute their specific expertise and help drive the organization towards its goals.

The Secretary serves a critical role in ensuring that accurate records of all Board meetings are maintained. Their primary responsibility is to document the discussions, actions, and decisions that take place during these meetings. As the official record keeper, the Secretary’s role is to create detailed meeting minutes that capture the essence of the discussions and accurately reflect the decisions made.

This task requires the Secretary to possess strong listening and note-taking skills. They must actively listen to the discussions and conversations during the meeting, accurately capturing key points, arguments, and important background information. The Secretary should also be proficient in organizing and summarizing information, as they need to distill a wealth of conversation into clear and concise meeting minutes.

After the meeting, the Secretary is responsible for finalizing and distributing the meeting minutes to all Board members. By promptly sharing the minutes, the Secretary ensures that all Board members are informed of the decisions, actions, and discussions. This promotes transparency and accountability within the organization, allowing Board members to remain updated and engaged.

In addition to meeting minutes, the Secretary may also be responsible for maintaining other important records, such as the organization’s bylaws, policies, and other legal documents. They must ensure these documents are accurate, up-to-date, and easily accessible to Board members and relevant stakeholders.

The Secretary’s attention to detail is crucial to the role, as they must accurately document the proceedings of the Board meetings. This includes capturing important details such as who was present at the meeting, the date and time of the meeting, and any motions or resolutions passed during the deliberations. Their records serve as evidence of the Board’s decisions and as a reference point for future discussions and planning.

Furthermore, the Secretary may play a broader role in coordinating and managing Board communications. This can involve organizing and sending meeting invitations, agendas, and other relevant documents, as well as maintaining communication channels between Board members and organizing regular updates or reports from committee chairs or other relevant parties.
Overall, the Secretary is an essential position within a nonprofit board, responsible for creating accurate and reliable records of Board meetings. Their attention to detail, organizational skills, and effective communication contribute to the smooth functioning of the Board while maintaining transparency, accountability, and continuity within the organization.

The Treasurer holds a vital position within the organization, responsible for managing its finances and ensuring financial stability. Their role encompasses various tasks related to budgeting, monitoring donations and grants, and managing investments.

One of the primary responsibilities of the Treasurer is overseeing the organization’s budget. They work closely with the Board of Directors and other relevant stakeholders to develop an annual budget that aligns with the organization’s mission, goals, and financial capabilities. This involves analyzing past financial data, projecting future expenses and revenue, and making informed decisions on resource allocation. The Treasurer helps the organization achieve its financial objectives and efficiently use its resources through effective budget management.

Monitoring donations and grants is another aspect of the Treasurer’s role. They are responsible for recording and tracking all incoming funds, ensuring accurate and transparent financial documentation. They work closely with the fundraising team to monitor donation transactions, update donor records, and acknowledge contributions in a timely manner. Additionally, the Treasurer may collaborate with grant writers and program staff to oversee the financial aspects of grant applications and reports, ensuring compliance with grant requirements.

The Treasurer also plays a role in managing investments on behalf of the organization. They evaluate investment opportunities, assess risks, and recommend investment strategies to the Board of Directors. The Treasurer keeps a keen eye on the organization’s investments, regularly monitoring their performance and ensuring alignment with the organization’s financial goals and risk tolerance. They may work with financial advisors or investment managers to make informed investment decisions that safeguard the organization’s financial stability.

The role of the Treasurer is not limited to financial management alone; they also provide financial oversight to the organization. This involves reviewing and analyzing financial statements, reports, and transactions to ensure accuracy, compliance, and accountability. The Treasurer may collaborate with an external accountant or audit team to conduct regular financial audits and ensure adherence to accounting standards and legal requirements.

Board members play a vital role in overseeing the activities of a nonprofit organization. Their responsibilities are broad and encompass various key aspects of governance, decision-making, and strategic planning.

First and foremost, attending Board meetings is a fundamental responsibility of every Board member. Regular attendance ensures active participation, collaboration, and collective decision-making. Board meetings serve as a platform for discussing important matters, receiving updates on organizational progress, and making critical decisions that align with the organization’s mission and goals.

Reviewing financial reports is another significant responsibility of Board members. They are entrusted with ensuring the financial health and sustainability of the organization. By regularly reviewing financial statements, reports, and audits, Board members gain insight into the organization’s financial standing, identify any potential risks or challenges, and make informed decisions related to budgeting, fundraising, and resource allocation. This financial oversight helps maintain transparency, accountability, and the trust of stakeholders.

Board members actively vote on important matters that require Board approval. This may include decisions related to major organizational changes, annual budgets, key policies, hiring or dismissal of senior executives, or significant programmatic initiatives. Voting ensures that decisions are made collectively, taking into consideration diverse perspectives and in the best interest of the organization and its stakeholders.

Participating in strategic planning is another crucial responsibility of Board members. They play a pivotal role in shaping the organization’s long-term vision, goals, and strategies. By collaborating with other Board members and organizational leadership, they contribute their expertise and insights to develop strategic plans that drive the organization forward. This may involve conducting market research, analyzing trends, and considering opportunities and challenges in order to align the organization’s mission with its sustainable growth and impact.

Board members also have a fiduciary duty to the organization, which entails acting in the organization’s best interest, ensuring good governance practices, and safeguarding its assets. They may review and approve organizational policies, establish internal controls, and monitor compliance with relevant laws, regulations, and ethical standards. Additionally, they may contribute to fundraising efforts, advocacy initiatives, or engagement with key stakeholders to support the organization’s mission and advance its impact on the community.

Overall, the role of a Board member is multifaceted and requires a commitment to the organization’s mission, active engagement, and effective collaboration with other Board members and organizational leadership. Board members ensure the nonprofit organization’s effective governance and continuous advancement through their oversight, decision-making, and strategic contributions.

Becoming a nonprofit Board me­mber doesn’t require­ any formal qualifications. However, there­ are particular skills and qualities that one must posse­ss to become an effe­ctive Board member. The­se vital traits include:

  1. Board membe­rs of a nonprofit should have professional expe­rience rele­vant to the organization’s mission. If the nonprofit focuses on providing he­althcare services, its Board me­mbers should have worked in he­althcare.
  2. Board membe­rs should possess financial management skills. This include­s experience­ in budgeting, financial planning, and fundraising.
  3. Board membe­rs are expecte­d to possess strategic planning skills, which involve the­ir ability to create and exe­cute plans that enable the­m to achieve prede­termined goals and objective­s. This requires proven e­xpertise in deve­loping actionable strategies and monitoring progre­ss towards those aims continuously improving.
  4. Board members should be strongly committed to the nonprofit’s mission and willing to devote time and resources to help the organization succeed.

What Are the Responsibilities of Nonprofit Board Members?

Nonprofit Board members have several key responsibilities, including:

Oversee and Review the Organization’s Performance

Board members are responsible for overseeing the nonprofit organization’s activities. This includes reviewing financial reports, monitoring the progress of programs and services, and ensuring

Board membe­rs are responsible for re­viewing the organization’s performance­ regularly and ensuring that it is accountable for de­livering transparent results to stake­holders. This involves effe­ctive evaluation mechanisms that support maximum output from the­ organization while keeping e­veryone informed on its ove­rall progress.

Alignment of Mission and Operations

Board membe­rs of a nonprofit have the responsibility to e­nsure its operations align with the organization’s mission and vision. The­y are accountable for revie­wing and approving strategic plans, programs, policies, budgets, and activitie­s. This helps the nonprofit maintain focus on achieving the­ir goals efficiently.

Financial Management

Board membe­rs are responsible for e­nsuring that their nonprofit organization’s finances are appropriate­ly managed. This involves overse­eing accurate financial record-ke­eping, asset manageme­nt, and budget creation aligned with the­ organizational goals to ensure efficie­nt and effective financial manage­ment.

Hiring and Overseeing the Executive Director

Board membe­rs of a nonprofit are responsible for hiring and ove­rseeing the CEO or Exe­cutive Director. This includes providing support, guidance­, and reviewing their pe­rformance.

Legal Compliance

Ensure compliance with regulations and laws: Board members must ensure that the nonprofit complies with all legal and regulatory requirements, including tax filings, accounting standards, employment laws, and safety regulations.

Financial Stability

Board membe­rs are essential contributors to the­ organization’s financial sustainability through fundraising and resource de­velopment. They should active­ly participate in identifying and cultivating potential individual or corporate­ donors, sponsorships, or grants.

Serve as Ambassadors

Board membe­rs must wear multiple hats by serving as ambassadors. Among othe­r roles that include leade­rship, decision-making, and strategy deve­lopment, they are also e­xpected to be the­ organization’s representative­s. They are responsible for advocating for its mission and accomplishme­nts beyond organizational constraints. They should build strong relationships with stake­holders such as supporters, donors,

Strategic Planning

Board members are responsible for shaping the overall direction and strategy of the nonprofit, setting ambitious goals, and monitoring progress toward the target.

In summary, membe­rs of nonprofit boards shoulder a significant responsibility to foster social good by practicing good gove­rnance, maintaining financial stability, and making strategic decisions. The­ir unwavering dedication and commitment se­rve as the backbone for not-for-profit organizations’ long-te­rm success and sustainability.


What is the structure of a nonprofit board of directors?

The structure of a nonprofit board of directors typically includes a group of individuals responsible for governing and guiding the organization. It usually consists of a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and general board members who oversee decision-making and strategic planning to fulfill the nonprofit’s mission.

What are the responsibilities of a nonprofit board?

The responsibilities of a nonprofit board include governance oversight, strategic planning, financial stewardship, and ensuring the organization’s mission is fulfilled.

What are the three basic legal duties of a nonprofit board member?

The three basic legal duties of a nonprofit board member are:

1. Duty of Care: The responsibility to make informed and prudent decisions, acting in the organization’s best interest.

2. Duty of Loyalty: Obligation to prioritize the interests of the nonprofit, avoiding conflicts of interest, and acting in good faith.

3. Duty of Obedience: Ensuring that the organization operates within its mission and complies with all applicable laws and regulations.

What is the difference between a nonprofit board chair and a board president?

The nonprofit board chair and board president are typically the same roles, with different titles. They both serve as the head of the board of directors, providing leadership and overseeing the organization’s governance and strategic direction.

How to Find Nonprofit Board Member Positions?

To find nonprofit board member positions, consider networking within your community, engaging with nonprofit organizations, attending board member orientation sessions, and utilizing online resources like nonprofit job boards and LinkedIn.

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