Are You New to the Board Chair Role?
No board can function effectively without a competent board chair. Holding this position requires specific skills and comes with certain responsibilities. If you have recently accepted a board chair role, the information below will help you be as influential to your board as possible.
The Role of the Nonprofit Board Chair
As board chair, your primary responsibilities include the following.
- Developing agendas – The time your board has to meet and interact is limited. For this reason, it is up to the board chair to make the meetings well-structured and productive. As board chair, you will need to develop meeting agendas that make the most of the board’s time.
- Facilitating meetings – The board chair acts as a figurehead during meetings. In this role, you’re always ensuring that the conversation moves in a positive direction and that all goals are accomplished. If conversation stalls or moves in the wrong direction, the board chair role is responsible for getting the meeting back on track.
- Setting an example – As board chair, you set an example of the conduct you expect from other members of the board. This includes being inclusive, attentive, and accountable.
- Resolving disputes – When board members don’t agree on a big decision, it’s up to the board chair to facilitate resolution.
- Ensuring participation – The board chair role is responsible for making sure members of the board are contributing and upholding their responsibilities. This applies both during and between meetings.
- Electing leadership within the board – The board chair role is responsible for recommending individuals to the board to serve as committee chairs or in other important positions.
- Working with other people in authority – As board chair, you will need to work with other organization leaders, such as the executive director or CEO of the organization.
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Skills You Need
In order to serve effectively in the board chair role, you need to possess certain skills. For example, to make sure that meetings are productive, you need to be organized and assertive. To resolve facilitate harmony on the board, you need to be able to communicate well and compromise occasionally. You should also value and promote collaboration in all situations.
Remember that your primary purpose as board chair is to lead your board toward accomplishing the organization’s goals. As you gain more experience as board chair, remember to evaluate your own progress and overall effectiveness regularly. By doing so, you can be as beneficial to the organization as possible.
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