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Commercial and Nonprofit Boards of Directors

It is important to know the responsibilities and scope of each position prior to applying to join an organization’s board or director. Having clearly defined roles will minimize the risk of conflicts-of-interest and encourage an efficient board.

Nonprofit boards are typically made of volunteers who give their time to support the achievement of the mission and serve as an controlling body. Additionally the board may also comprise committees that perform a significant part of the board’s duties as well as increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the board.

A typical structure comprises a Fundraising Committee, Governance Committee (which determines policies and programs), Finance or Audit/Risk committee, Nominating committee and other Ad-Hoc committees. However, each company might have a different structure for committees.

Most nonprofit organizations also have a CEO/Executive director who is a manager and not a board member. While many people think that these two positions are equivalent but the reality is that the position of the President is a role in governance and the job of the CEO/ED falls under a management position.

The best way to recruit members is to proactively find community members with the expertise, knowledge and networks that can benefit your organization. Nonprofits can find potential candidates in a variety of ways, including through a board-matching program, networking events, and on platforms like LinkedIn. Nonprofits should also have a process for onboarding and training new members on their specific responsibility. Lastly, nonprofits should have a solid board governance process in place, as well as D&O insurance coverage to limit the risks they face and ensure their success.

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