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Quick Guide: Nonprofit Board Officer Role Descriptions

Nonprofit Board Officer Roles

Where to Start with Officer Job Descriptions

You’d never apply to a paying job with no description of the role. Why do we ask nonprofit board officers to do the same? Obviously, each job description will need to include required knowledge and important details. But before we even start writing those guidelines, let’s think about what duties each nonprofit board officer has.

Here are some general responsibilities that nonprofit board officers have as part of their volunteer job. These points are not meant to serve as job descriptions, but rather to provide a guide for responsibilities that may be included in a job description.

Nonprofit board roles are defined by Boardable's board governance coach Kim Donahue

Board President

Naturally, this position is the leader of the board of directors. Here are a few duties of being the head of an organization’s board.

  • Presides at meetings of the board and executive committee
  • Appoints chairs of committees and task forces
  • Ex-officio member of all board committees
  • Signs documents and contracts as approved by the board
  • May serve as spokesperson for the board
  • Meets regularly with the CEO to receive progress reports
  • Prepares agendas for meetings in cooperation with the CEO
  • Oversees the yearly evaluation of the CEO

RELATED: Board Chair Responsibilities: Other Duties as Assigned

Vice-Chair/Chair-elect

Clearly, this is an important role. You can think of the vice-chair as the future of the nonprofit. This nonprofit board officer should be prepared to perform the following duties.

  • Prepares to assume the office of the board chair
  • Steps into the office of board chair should the board chair be absent or if that office becomes vacant
  • Assists the board chair in the execution of his or her duties
  • Serves on committees as requested to learn the operations of the board
  • Works closely with the board chair to transfer knowledge and history to prepare for leadership

Board Secretary

No one knows more about the goings-on of the board than the board secretary. Naturally, it takes a certain kind of person to be good at this job.

  • Assures that an agenda has been prepared by the board president and/or CEO and that the agenda is distributed in advance of the meeting.
  • Oversees the distribution of background information for agenda items to be discussed.
  • Prepares the official minutes of the meeting that records motions, discussion votes on motions, decisions made.
  • Prepares and provide written minutes to board members in advance of the next meeting and records any changes or corrections to the minutes.
  • Assures that documents (bylaws, Form 990, roster of board members) is filed and is accessible to members (Hint: Boardable’s Document feature is a big help here!)

Board Treasurer

Obviously, finances are always important for an organization. This position needs to be comfortable with the following responsibilities.

  • Serves as chair of the finance committee and financial officer of the organization
  • Manages, with the finance committee, the board’s review of and action on its financial responsibilities
  • Works with the chief executive and chief financial officer to ensure that financial reports are distributed to the board in advance of meetings
  • Leads discussion of the financial reports at board meetings
  • Assists the chief executive or the chief financial officer in preparing the annual budget and presenting the budget to the board for approval
  • Reviews the annual audit and answers board members’ questions about the audit
  • Assists with the development and review of the annual budget

RELATED: Nonprofit Board Treasurer: More than a Bookkeeper

Outlining Expectations of Nonprofit Board Officers

As with any job, one of the necessary components for success is clear expectations. Clearly, no one can do a good job at their role if they don’t know what it is. By providing a clear definition of nonprofit board officer roles, you make sure the right people are in the right positions. Finally, remember to adjust your descriptions over time as your organization evolves. The strongest boards are both well-defined and adaptable.


Interested in how to make your board of directors more productive through the effective use of technology? Boardable is a software platform that centralizes all communication between you and your board. Find the best meeting times, securely store all of your documents, archive discussion threads and more—all in one board portal. Click below to schedule a demo with a member of our Boardable team.

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