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Board Member Responsibility #4: Accessibility of Resources

April 07, 2021

Part four of our Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards series looks at ensuring the organization has sufficient resources to achieve its goals and continues to make progress on mission objectives.

*Editor's Note: This blog has been updated as of April 7, 2021 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

As noted in the first few blogs of this series, the Board's primary job is to see that the organization addresses its mission. Achieving the mission usually requires expanding resources. It is a Board's responsibility to see that the organization has adequate resources to implement its programs and address its mission.

Do board members have to make contributions?

Board members are not personally responsible for making a significant cash contribution. Some organizations impose a financial support requirement on their Board members. Some Organizations temper this requirement with a "give or get" condition that allows the financial commitment to be satisfied by obtaining an equivalent (get) donation from another source.

Assuring that the organization has adequate resources is a two-part concept.

First is assuring that the organization has the resources to implement its programs and plans in the short term.

The second is ensuring that the organization has adequate resources to address its mission. The Board's responsibility is to make sure the organization has the capacity to achieve its goals while working to increase its capacity to the level needed to make meaningful progress on its mission objectives.

Obtaining cash resources is necessary for every organization. Although the Board member is not personally responsible for supplying those cash resources, they must realize that they occupy a unique place and must accept responsibility for leading the fundraising task. Leading the fundraising task begins with financially supporting the organization according to one's individual means. When you are a Board member, your knowledge of the organization is more significant than any other community member. Before you ask for the community's financial support, the organization should be in your donation budget.

Board members are the liaison between the community and the organization it serves. As a Board member, it is your responsibility to influence resource providers. Board members must cultivate interest in the organization among potential resource providers and make a strong case for their financial support. It is also essential for Board members to steward the relationship with these resource providers. Hence, they feel valued and will continue to support and potentially provide additional support.

In addition to financial resources, organizations will expend human and physical resources. The Board's responsibility for ensuring adequate resources extends to these areas. The Board honors its responsibility by asking good questions and expecting sound answers from management. Thus, the Board should ensure that the appropriate personnel is hired and retained and that physical resources are safeguarded and used effectively.

This work is not easy. Boards that ensure the organization has adequate resources and effectively use them are much more valuable to the organization than a Board that merely represents a check from each member.

Questions? Contact us.

Read more on not-for-profit boards:
Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards Series.

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