Board of Directors Best Practices

October 26, 2022

The mission behind most boards of directors is to act in its members' best interests, help its organization thrive, and stick to its purpose, vision, and goals. The scope and the responsibilities of the board members vary depending on the size of the board, the number of members that make up an organization, if it is public or private, and other factors. 

Despite the variations, there are general duties that any board is expected to perform. This might include establishing a budget and keeping the operations of the organization in line with those numbers. It might consist of drafting the organization’s mission statement and ensuring that it stays at the core of the association and is the motivation behind board decisions and actions. It could also consist of providing leadership and guidance to its members, holding events and meetings, and pulling resources for the community to use as needed. 

This list is not all-inclusive, and you might find yourself asking, what else does a board member do? While the above are some general duties, the potential list of responsibilities is endless.

Aside from the general responsibilities most organizations follow, there are a few standard positions on the board that members can run for. These include President or Chair, Vice President or Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. Members elect people they feel are most qualified for these positions through a board election process.  While anyone in the organization can run for any position, it is important that board positions be elected carefully. The individuals taking on the responsibilities of a Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, or Treasurer, should be committed, passionate, determined to make a positive change, and always lead in the best interests of the organization’s members.

Let’s say an organization has elected its board members, there is a mission statement in place, and the association is operating smoothly. What are some of the best practices that will ensure that the board is successful and effective?

Minimum Absences

Take a second to reflect back on your younger days. Do you remember how strict the attendance office was if you missed a day of school? Occasionally, you had to stay home if you were sick, but this was the expectation because attendance was important to your education. 

While we are no longer sitting in classrooms learning how to write, board members were voted in to take part in important activities for the association. Being on a board requires attendance and being present at the meetings. It’s impossible to get the organization’s members to take board actions seriously and commit their time to the good of the association if the board of directors doesn’t do the same. A board will ensure success if it creates a schedule of meetings—and attend them. This allows the board and its members to make decisions as a team. 

Provide an Outlet for Member Complaints and Concerns 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every organization ran smoothly and without a hitch? Its members would be fulfilled, happy, and rarely stressed. However, we don’t live in a perfect world. 

That is why it is important for the board of directors to establish an outlet for its members to share complaints and concerns from the organization. This creates a sense of security and respect among its members. It also ensures that no unethical behavior or action by any member is tolerated. 

Oversee New Members and Admissions 

It is highly likely that an organization will want to invite more members to join the organization at some point or time. How often and how many people will depend on the group, but the process of granting admission and accepting new members should be overseen by the board. 

Know Where the Organization Is Headed

Having a clear understanding of the organization’s vision and goals allows an organization to excel. However, too many hands in the pot might make things messy, so it’s important to let the board of directors handle the strategizing and execution of the organization’s growth. These members were voted onto the board to handle these types of issues because others thought they were capable.

Maintain Respect, Loyalty, and Care

Maintaining respect, loyalty and care should be a best practice in and out of an organization. The board has a responsibility to each member, and to each other, to behave with respect, pursue the best interests of the organization, avoid opportunities of self-interest, and care about the overall function of the association.

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