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Elevating impact through leadership: key responsibilities of Not-For-Profit board members

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Christine O'Donnell
Written on the 18 March 2024

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes in the boardrooms of Not-For-Profit (NFP) organisations? What exactly do those influential board members do to drive the mission forward?

If you’re enthusiastic about understanding the primary responsibilities of an NFP board, let’s pull back the curtain and explore some common tasks undertaken by NFP board members.

Oversight and strategic guidance

As a board member in a not-for-profit organisation, you’ll oversee the organisation’s adherence to its mission, ensuring operations stay within legal boundaries while maintaining financial responsibility. Your commitment, especially your emotional investment in the cause, significantly influences your impact and engagement, vital for the organisation’s success.

Fundraising and resource development

Your role as a board member is pivotal in fundraising, a responsibility crucial for a not-for-profit’s sustainability. Your involvement in resource development, coupled with ensuring the organisation’s governance and credibility, is paramount for securing necessary funds and support.

Legal and ethical compliance

You are tasked with ensuring the organisation complies with all applicable laws and ethical guidelines. This includes upholding fiduciary responsibilities, avoiding conflicts of interest, and staying true to the not-for-profit’s mission and objectives.

Performance and organisational effectiveness

Boards engage in various activities such as policy formation, strategic planning, program oversight, financial management, resource development, board enhancement, and conflict resolution, all of which contribute to organisational effectiveness. The effectiveness of a not-for-profit board correlates strongly with the organisation’s overall performance.

Board development and succession planning

You’ll be involved in recruiting, nominating, and orienting new board members, ensuring diversity of skills, backgrounds, and perspectives within the board. Regular evaluations of board performance and effectiveness, as well as the development and implementation of succession plans, are essential for ensuring continuity of leadership and institutional knowledge.

In closing, not-for-profit board members are the backbone of purpose-driven organisations. Their oversight, fundraising efforts, legal compliance, and commitment to organisational effectiveness are an important factor to achieving the mission.

Take the next step in your leadership journey

If you’re looking to develop your leadership skills further, reach out to our People Advisory team. Our team is dedicated to supporting leaders to unlock their full potential and achieve excellence in their roles. Alternatively, if you’re a leader seeking opportunities to drive positive change, you may explore our jobs page.

Picture of Christine O'Donnell

Christine O'Donnell

Christine O'Donnell is the Senior Partner at Meritos, an executive search and recruitment business working with purpose-driven organisations. If you're interested in connecting with Christine, you can find her on LinkedIn here. You can also reach her via email at [email protected]
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Elevating impact through leadership: key responsibilities of Not-For-Profit board members

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes in the boardrooms of Not-For-Profit (NFP) organisations? What exactly do those influential board members do to drive the mission forward?

If you’re enthusiastic about understanding the primary responsibilities of an NFP board, let’s pull back the curtain and explore some common tasks undertaken by NFP board members.

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