Board Job Descriptions—Not a Magic Bullet, but a Tool for Better Boards

If there was a pill that your board of directors could take to solve all of its problems, I’m sure you’d order a year’s supply right away. Sadly, there is no magic pill that will create and maintain excellent board member performance.  But the Standards for Excellence Code® offers a solution — “the board should establish stated expectations for board members, including expectations for participation in fundraising activities, committee service, and program activities.” 

A clearly written job description is an integral part of the organization’s recruitment, orientation, and board evaluation processes.  Often times, nonprofits find that while their boards are comprised of talented, well-meaning individuals who want to help to the best of their abilities, they simply do not understand their roles and responsibilities.  Strengthening your board member expectation document or job description could go a long way towards strengthening the performance of individual board members and the board as a whole. 

Use the sample board member position description in the Standards for Excellence® program’s educational resource packet, “Conduct of the Board,” as a starting point for enhancing your board’s document on board member expectations. The packet is free and available to Standards for Excellence Institute® members. It is available through the members only section of our website. Hard copies are also available upon request. Not a member? Join now!


About Amy Coates Madsen

Amy Coates Madsen serves as the Program Director of the Standards for Excellence Institute.
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