Our YANA Roundtable on Board Operations was organized and facilitated by Vivien Hoexter and Linda Hartley  (Click for profiles.)  On June 10, 2015 we were hosted by Dorma International at their beautiful showroom near Bryant Park in New York City.


The members attending discussed the ten key roles and responsibilities of nonprofit board members. They shared experiences about their own boards with  YANA colleagues and worked together to define and develop best practices to take back to their organizations.

Vivien and Linda prepared a Handout that included key responsibilities, listed below, and resources to assist in understanding Board Operations. (Click for the handout)


Ten Roles and Responsibilities of The Board

  1. Embody the vision, mission and values of the organization, ensure its continued relevance
  2. Ensure legal and ethical integrity, bear ultimate fiduciary responsibility
  3. Recruit and develop Board leadership, assess performance, ensure succession
  4. Ensure effective organization planning
  5. Ensure resources to carry out the mission and inspire, by example, the highest level of commitment
  6. Approve budgets, ensure resources are managed effectively
  7. Monitor and strengthen the organization’s programs and services, ensure mission alignment
  8. Advocate to enhance the organization’s influence and public standing
  9. Inspire and ratify major plans and policies, monitor conformance
  10. Appoint, motivate and support the chief executive, assess performance


Financial Duties of The Board

  1. Adopt a realistic budget
  2. Ensure internal accounting system
  3. Expect timely, accurate budget & financial reports
  4. Confirm tax & withholding filings
  5. Establish clear role for Board in finance & audit
  6. Ensure honesty, integrity in fundraising
  7. Confirm accounting for restricted funds


The attendees appreciated the evening.

One member observed, “A board is not a cocktail party or a Christmas card list–it’s a group of people that will work well together toward a goal. Putting together a good board is more like hiring the right staff for an org than it is like putting together a friendship/social event.”

And Joan Bierman advises: “Community Resource Exchange has a good template of a Board Membership Agreement (contract) in their ‘From Vision to Reality: A Guide to Launching a Successful Nonprofit Organization’ book – available as a free download via their website. http://crenyc.org

Brian Neff compliments, “The YANA Roundtables never fail to energize me and I always walk away percolating with ideas and at least one or two concrete action steps that I can take in my nonprofit work. Thank you!”