role of a board of directors

Many of us deal with a board of directors, especially in the non profit arena. I serve on a couple of boards for ministries I am involved with. Being on a board can be a great experience, both for the board member and for the executive director/president. It can also be incredibly frustrating and taxing, especially to the leader in charge of the organization. So thought I would provide a few points here on the role of a board. This is based on some thoughts recently from Leroy Barber, the President of Mission Year. Leroy has served on a number of boards and has lots of experience, both serving on boards and working for boards.

So what is the ultimate responsibility of a board of directors?  Again, specifically as it relates to non profit charities or ministries, there are a handful of very important things: 

1. Give, get, or get off- give money, go get some money, or get off the bus. 

2. One employee, one customer- sole focus of the board is the role and responsibility of the executive director. Don't mess with the rest of the organization. It's not the role of  the board.

3. Health and stability- take care of your executive director and make sure they are healthy and stable. Their sense of well being is your responsibility. 

4. Carry the vision-  own the vision of the organization. It can't just be owned by the visionary or founder. 

5. Stay in your strengths- make sure the board members are operating in their areas of strength. In their areas of interest and focus. Not just serving on a committee just for the committee's sake. 

6. Replace yourself- find other potential board members who can take your place. Succession and legacy are critical.