Commercial and Nonprofit Boards of Directors

If you’re thinking of applying to join a nonprofit or commercial director or board it is essential to understand the scope and responsibilities attendant on each position. The clearness of the roles can reduce the risk of conflicts of interest and help to create a functional board.

Nonprofit boards are usually comprised up of volunteers who dedicate their time to assist in the achievement of the mission and serve as a governance body. Additionally the board can also include committees that carry out a large portion of the responsibilities of the board to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the board.

A typical structure is comprised of the following: Fundraising Committee, Governance Committee, Finance or Audit/Risk Committee, Nominating Committee and other Ad-Hoc committees. Each organization will have its own committee structure.

In addition, many nonprofit organizations have an Executive Director or President who has a managerial role, and is not considered to be a member of the board of directors. Many people believe that the roles of the President and CEO/ED are identical. However the President’s job is one of governance, while the CEO/ED’s job is one of management.

The best method to find members is to proactively seek out engaged community members who have the expertise, knowledge and networks to help your organization. Nonprofits can find potential candidates by a variety such as a board matching program, networking events and platforms like LinkedIn. Nonprofits should also have a procedure for onboarding and educating new members on their specific responsibilities. In addition, nonprofits should have strong governance procedures for their boards and D&O insurance in place to help mitigate the risks they face and ensure their success.

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