If you are new to the world of nonprofits and boards, please read the Introduction to Board Service below. For experienced nonprofit leaders, please scroll down to the description of the Directors U Education and Information Program or list of Resource Organizations below.
An Introduction to Nonprofit Board Service
What is a Nonprofit Organization?
Most of us see nonprofits in action in our communities every day including hospitals, museums, soup kitchens, and youth programs. Nonprofits focus on various causes and look very different. Some are small and have few or no staff; others may employ thousands of individuals.
The Role of Nonprofit Boards
Many nonprofits are managed by professional staff. Every nonprofit is overseen by a board of directors or trustees whose role is to ensure that the organization is operating legally, ethically and to its full potential. Although a small number of nonprofit organizations offer board members nominal compensation, the vast majority of nonprofit board members are volunteers.
Responsibilities of board members include strategic planning to ensure the organization’s programs are fulfilling its mission and purpose, selecting and evaluating the organization’s chief executive, reviewing financial reports and helping to raise funds to assure the organization has sufficient resources for its work. A typical board member might volunteer 2-4 hours per month including attending a full board or committee meeting and reviewing required material.
Benefits of Board Service
The responsibilities of board service are significant, but there are also many benefits. Serving on a nonprofit board is a great way to support a cause that you care about. You may also expand your professional and social network by connecting with other talented individuals who share a common interest. Finally, there are many opportunities for leadership on nonprofit boards – organizing task forces and events and leading committees. Many companies encourage emerging leaders to join nonprofit boards to further their professional development.
charitySTRONG offers a short, free online course on nonprofit board service. If you are interested in taking the course and looking for a board to join, click here to register.
Directors U Education and Information Program
Directors U is an online library of topical resources for current and prospective board members and chief executives. It includes our short online course describing the fundamentals of board service called Good Practices for Good Boards. There are also dozens of other publications, videos and podcasts describing New York State laws and regulations for charities; board roles and responsibilities; and, board operations and structure. Some items can be downloaded directly from the charitySTRONG website. We have included many free publications and webinars along with links to a select number of books, subscriptions and training opportunities that are available for a fee from other providers.
Click here to register and go to Directors U. If you are already registered, click here to login and be taken to the Directors U website.
There are many experts available to help New York nonprofits improve organizational effectiveness and build skills and knowledge of staff and leadership. Click here to view a list of management support organizations, government agencies and other groups.