Know

Summary...

  1. Board members have individual responsibilities towards the organization defined by law and best practices. Board members make decisions as a board (govern) and support as individuals.
  2. Board members have three duties related to fiduciary responsibilities – Duty of Care, Duty of Loyalty, and Duty of Obedience. As of January 1, 2022, the Washington Nonprofit Corporation Act added the duty to share relevant information related to the operations or a violation of law involving the organization.
  3. Financial management practices play a critical role in a nonprofit’s ability to achieve the mission and protect assets, and board members need to understand their organizational financial responsibilities.
  4. An organization may face various kinds of risk, and the board should review and plan for risk factors including legal, financial, regulatory, human resources, technology, and property.
Reflect

Here are some questions to think about...

  • Thinking about your nonprofit’s current policies and plans (e.g., succession plans, emergency plans, etc.), what other policies and plans might you need to implement? Are the policies and plans up-to-date and effective?
  • Typically, bylaws are reviewed every 4 – 5 years, do you know when your nonprofit’s bylaws were last reviewed? Is the board in compliance with the bylaws?
Grow

Next steps...

  • Make sure the following required documents are on file, and all board members have access to a copy of the Articles of Incorporation and bylaws.
    •  Key organizational documents: IRS Form 1023 (application for federal tax-exemption), IRS Determination Letter, Articles of Incorporation, bylaws, Document Retention and Destruction Policy, and Whistleblower Policy
  • Learn more about board roles and responsibilities as well as whistleblower protections for nonprofits on the National Council of Nonprofits resource pages – Board Roles and Responsibilities and Whistleblower Protections for Nonprofits. Both resource pages include sample policies and more resource suggestions.

Chapter Materials

Boards in Gear Guide

The Boards in Gear Guide includes information, activities, worksheets, and reflection questions. Use the guide on ...
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