The board job description is used to recruit new board members, to remind current board members of their role and responsibility to the organization, and in some cases, to let board members go who cannot discharge their board responsibilities. Therefore, the board member job description should be signed and dated, a copy kept in the board member’s notebook, and another copy kept on file.

Distribute a copy of this handout (available here as a PDF) to each individual at your next board or governance committee meeting. Take 10 minutes and ask everyone to thoughtfully answer the questions. After the meeting, compile and summarize the answers for review at the following meeting.

Step 1: Take a moment to think about your responsibilities as a board member.
What are your responsibilities as a board member? What activities are you expected to participate in? Check off any of the following and add your own:

  • Actively participate in the governance of the nonprofit by making informed decisions
  • Prepare for board meetings
  • Review bylaws and policies and act in accordance
  • Serve on at least one committee
  • Provide financial oversight
  • Help safeguard assets
  • Review, approve and monitor the budget and financial statements
  • Participate in fundraising

Step 2: Take a moment to think about time commitment expectations.
What time expectations would you like board members to commit to?

  • Meetings (including prep) ____  per month
  • Committee work ____ per month
  • Special projects ____  per month
  • Other _____________ ____ per month
  • Retreat (including prep) ____  per year
  • Events ____  per year
  • Fundraising ____  per year
  • Other____________ ____ per year

Step 3 – Take a moment to think about what you expect financially from fellow board members.
Does it make sense for your organization to ask board members to contribute a certain dollar amount? What factors should be taken into consideration in making this decision?


Use the compiled answers from this exercise to create a draft of your board member job description. When complete, the draft should be presented at a board meeting for comment and adoption. At that point, everyone can sign and date their job description and keep them for future reference.

You can download this exercise FREE as a PDF to distribute to your board. The exercise is from our workbook, Becoming a Great Board: 10 minute exercises to get your board galvanized!