7 Responsibilities of Effective Nonprofit Boards

By Mohammed Almathil
20 Aug 2017

7 Responsibilities of Effective Nonprofit Boards

By Mohammed Almathil

Asalamu Alaikum,

Without a doubt, no one denies the fact that many boards of nonprofit organizations seem sincere, dedicated and service oriented. Some sacrifice tremendous amount of time and money, and perform an excellent job in establishing, growing and sustaining their nonprofit organizations. They deserve our appreciation, and need to be recognized for their effectiveness. With that in mind, we also have to acknowledge that there are many dysfunctional boards who despite having sincere intentions and dedicating financial resources, are deemed ineffective. This is due to many reasons which include; vagueness of the organization’s purpose, lack of clarity of roles and positions, imbalanced powers and authorities, lack of clarity on expectations from the board members and executive team, micromanagement style of board members who involve themselves excessively in short terms tactics and execution, distractions internally and externally with organizational politics and tensions, incompetent members, and more…

Nonetheless, one solution that enables board members to become more effective is defining and understanding their role and responsibilities. Regardless of the stage and size of the organization, it will assist them in improving their performance. Here are the 7 responsibilities of effective nonprofit boards:

  • Focus on long term planning and direction of the organization in regards to the vision, mission, values, scope, and strategic objectives.
  • Develop criteria, select, orient, and align new competent, committed, and diverse board members, and evaluate their performance and contribution to the organization since accountability goes both ways.
  • Diversify revenue for long term financial sustainability, and work on generating funds through board members, donors, grants, and other avenues in order to secure sufficient financial resources for the organization to fulfill it’s mission.
  • Ensure adherence to legal, financial and ethical standards, and provide proper financial controls and oversight based on generally accepted accounting principles.  
  • Promote and bring exposure to the organization, and increase visibility and support from the community.
  • Recruit, support, and evaluate the performance of the Executive Director who leads the executive team.
  • Set realistic expectations depending on the resources allocated to the Executive Director, and monitor the execution of the operational plans on an annual basis, and ensure alignment with the organization’s mission.

I hope that the above helps your board to improve moving forward. If you want hands on and in depth training, then I invite you to check out my Nonprofit Management Workshop, in which I train boards and executive team on best practices in nonprofit management and governance. Simply fill out this short form by clicking here, and we will get back to you with more details on the workshop inshaAllah. I wish you and your organization the best of success.

Best regards,
Mohammed Almathil