Prior to developing a job description for board members, take time to determine what you expect from them. Which roles should they adopt and which tasks, projects, and activities do you want them to be responsible for? In addition, consult your by-laws as they will list board member roles and responsibilities specific to your agency.

If you have never developed a board member job description, you can borrow and review descriptions from other agencies or search online for sample descriptions. If you currently have a job description in place, review it to ensure it contains those roles and responsibilities that are most critical for board members to be aware of and adhere to. Descriptions can contain any or all of the following items:

1. Hiring, evaluating, and terminating the Executive Director.

2. Engaging in short-term and long-term strategic planning.

3. Developing and reviewing policies and procedures, regular and personnel.

4. Contributing financially – either providing a contribution or helping to fundraise.

5. Attending all organizational events and activities, fundraising and other.

6. Representing and promoting the organization in the community.

7. Being the “ears and eyes” of the organization in the community.

8. Conducting an annual evaluation of the board (self-evaluation).

9. Attending a pre-determined number/percentage of board meetings.

10. Participating in at least one board committee.

11. Reading all documents (agendas, minutes, financials) prior to a board meeting.

12. Assisting in recruiting other board members.

13. Keeping track of “volunteer” hours for funding sources and potential grant applications.

Board member job descriptions should steer clear of the following items:

1. Getting involved in the organization’s day to day operations.

2. Hiring, evaluating, and terminating staff.

3. Taking care of issues (e.g., staff concerns/issues/problems) that should go to the Executive Director or immediate supervisor first.

Once your board member job description has been developed, share it with potential board members. Discuss each specific item so they are clear about what is expected (and not expected) of them. The clearer you are at communicating their roles and responsibilities upfront, the more responsible, effective, and productive board members they will be.

Copyright 2009 © Sharon L. Mikrut, All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

If you want to make positive changes in your professional life, and create the job or career you desire and deserve, then working with Executive & Life Coach, Sharon L. Mikrut, is the solution. Although her specialty is in partnering with nonprofit executive directors and managers to maximize their resources in a competitive environment, she is passionate about working with all individuals committed to personal and/or professional growth. Visit her website ( or Nonprofit Professionals blog (, and sign up for her free monthly nonprofit newsletter designed to help you manage your organization in a more effective and efficient manner.