Since all boards are comprised differently, there will often be different roles and titles. A nonprofit board of directors is made up of members, also called directors. Titles such as President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer are all officer roles. A director does not have to be an officer, although they can be. Most small-scale nonprofits have directors that also hold officer roles. That said, there are three standard roles that almost every board has.
These include a president, treasurer, and secretary. Although not all boards distribute each roles’ responsibilities the same way, you can check out this general outline to gain clarity on these positions and the responsibilities that accompany each role.
The main responsibilities of the board president include running board meetings and ensuring that decisions are being made, and goals are being reached. The president assigns roles and tasks to the board members and ensures that everyone is completing those assigned tasks. They are the person who drives the organization to continuously fulfill on their mission.
The board secretary is typically the person who handles most of the paperwork that is coming through the board. That includes preparing agendas, meeting notices, and board minutes. Recording board minutes, which is essentially very diligent meeting notes, is a very important task that must happen at every board meeting. The secretary will then distribute the board minutes to each board member after a board meeting takes place and ensure that action items are clearly assigned to each board member.
The board treasurer serves as the financial officer of the board. The treasurer is in charge of managing the organization’s finances, while working closely with the CEO/President in building and reviewing the organization’s financial model and budget. This role often comes with the responsibility of filing or reviewing the organization’s tax forms, like the annual 990 that all nonprofits must file.
All boards are comprised differently - with different titles, number of board members, and delegation of responsibilities. But if you are stumped about the titles of the board members and their responsibilities, it’s easiest to start with the most common roles and the responsibilities that those roles generally have. Once you and your board become more familiar with the process, you can adapt to the needs of your board members and organizations.