Board Member Duties and Expectations
- Board service is a form of volunteerism that can have a huge impact on the organization, but if you think that your sense of personal fulfillment requires a more hands-on volunteer opportunity, you might want to consider becoming a member of one of the committees instead of board service.
- Board members are legally required to fulfill their fiduciary duties, which will require you to devote a considerable amount of time to the organization. The amount of time varies greatly by organization, but simply planning to attend the board meetings is not sufficient.
- Board members must be willing to regularly review financial statements and meeting materials, and many board members will need to prepare for and attend committee meetings in addition to board meetings.
- Boards are teams of committed and engaged individuals who work together to govern the organization. If you prefer to work alone, then board service may not be the right way for you to work with the organization.
- Board membership is not just an honorary position, a social activity with friends, or a simple team exercise. Above all, it comes with legal expectations and liabilities. This is the most important concept to understand about board service. Every board member is responsible for his or her own actions — or failure to act — on the board.
- Board service is probably the most demanding volunteer activity. To best serve the board and the organization, follow these tips:
- Accept committee and board assignments with enthusiasm — and then follow through. Use all your professional skills to draft recommendations, carry out tasks, and help the board do its work between meetings.
- Come to meetings prepared; ask questions when something seems unusual or when you do not understand something.
- Be prepared to respect and learn from different viewpoints on the board while participating in robust discussions to find the best options for the organization.