How to stay effective as a non-profit board

Non-profit board members have vast responsibilities.

Ethically, a seat at the table should go beyond a splashy volunteer line on the resume.

Financially, the responsibility holds vital sway in the budgeting and long-term planning of the non-profit organization.

So how can boards ensure they’re being effective and responsible?

Grab a few ideas below in our quick summary of these non-profit governance tips from a member of the AICPA Not-for-Profit Advisory Council.

Governance tips for non-profit boards

  1. Recruit board members with the time and skill sets that contribute to a well-rounded board. Don’t just pick your friends to be on the board. It’s important to have a diverse group of skills around the table. Consider adding those with basic knowledge competencies such as accounting, human resources, legal, and real estate skills.
  2. Train members on their roles and responsibilities. It’s unfair to board members to have unspoken expectations. Clearly lay out everyone’s role and responsibilities during meetings and outside the room.
  3. Take accurate meeting minutes. It’s important to find just the right mix of topics discussed and level of detail. Be sure to include voting decisions, and results of who voted for and against measures.
  4. Schedule the meeting calendar appropriately. Key decisions need to happen throughout a financial year — including approving yearly budget and reviewing financial audits. Make sure to schedule board meetings to fit around these important events.
  5. Keep members responsible. Confrontation can be uncomfortable. But you may have board members who miss meetings, don’t do the work, or dismiss the organization’s priorities or goals. Replacements may be necessary for those who don’t or can’t perform appropriately.

These responsibilities are key to a board’s effectiveness.

Non-profit boards are not only fluffy feel-good meetings. They genuinely contribute to the financial health (or problems) of an organization.

Avoid the mistakes of some non-profit mishaps by proactively planning how to keep your board effective.


We can help you zero in on the common mistakes boards make, and how you can avoid them. Learn more about our non-profit services, or contact us today by filling out the contact form below.