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Types of Nonprofit Directors

by KJ Henderson

A nonprofit organization is a business that operates for a public purpose, such as a charity or social service organization. Unlike a for-profit corporation, turning a profit is not its goal. Nonprofits are run day-to-day by an executive director. Similar to their for-profit chief executive officer counterparts, executive directors are appointed by and report to a volunteer board of directors, who oversee the organization strategically. A board of directors is comprised of multiple board members and a few titled officers.

The Role of the Chairman

The chairman of the board of directors is the highest level officer of the nonprofit organization. He partners with the executive director to ensure that the group’s mission statement is followed. In addition, he leads all board meetings, sets the agenda and directs all financial planning. In some organizations, there is a vice chairman who serves as second in command, leading in the absence of the chairman.

The Role of the Committee Chair

Many larger nonprofit organizations have a large board of directors. In these environments, board members often sit on committees that analyze and create policies for various areas or functions of the organization. Examples of this include financial committee, membership committee and fundraising committee. Committees are managed by the committee chair, a board director officer who creates the policies surrounding committee work, reporting to the chairman of behalf of each.

The Role of the Secretary

The secretary is an officer on the board of directors who compiles and maintains all of the board’s records. This includes meeting minutes, correspondence and legal documents, such as the nonprofit organization’s articles of incorporation. Serving as part administrator and part librarian, the secretary serves tracks all of the board’s votes and policy changes.

The Role of the Treasurer

The treasurer is a nonprofit organization’s top financial officer. Partnering with the board chairman and executive director, she develops and administers the annual budget. She also creates policies and best practices surrounding the organization's financial management procedures. Nonprofit are given special tax treatment by the government. As a result, it is important for treasurer to remain current on regulations to ensure the organization's legal compliance.

About the Author

KJ Henderson has more than a decade of HR and talent acquisition experience. He has held roles at a Fortune 100 investment bank, a media conglomerate and at one of NYC's largest executive staffing firms. He currently heads recruitment sourcing at a major movie studio. He read literature at Oxford.

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