Role of the Board of Directors

Roles and responsibilities of the Board of Directors of Local Independent Online News Publishers.

October 10, 2012 by Dylan Smith

Roles and responsibilities of the Board of Directors of Local Independent Online News Publishers:

Determine LION’s mission, vision, values and purpose. It is the Board’s responsibility to create the mission statement and review it periodically for accuracy and validity. Each individual Board member should fully understand and support it.

Ensure effective organizational planning. As stewards of the organization, a Board sets the overall direction and establishes general priorities. It must actively participate with the staff (if any) in a strategic planning process and assist in implementing the plan’s goals.

Select the executive director. (If applicable) Boards must reach consensus on the executive’s job description and undertake a careful search to find the most qualified individual for the position.

Support the executive director and review her/his performance. (If applicable) The Board should ensure that the executive has the moral and professional support she needs to further the goals of the organization. The executive, in partnership with the entire Board, should decide upon an annual review of the executive’s performance.

Ensure adequate resources/raise money. One of the Board’s foremost responsibilities is to provide adequate resources for the organization to fulfill its mission. The Board should work in partnership with the executive and development staff, if any, to raise funds from the ‘community’.

Ensure effective fiduciary oversight. The Board, in order to remain accountable to its donors, the public, and to safeguard its tax-exempt status, must assist in developing the annual budget and ensuring that proper financial and risk controls are in place.

Determine, monitor, and strengthen the organization’s programs and services. The Board (in conjunction with the staff) determines which programs are the most consistent with the organization’s mission and monitors their effectiveness.

Enhance the organization’s public standing. The organization’s primary link to the community, the public, and the media, is the Board. Clearly articulating the organization’s mission, accomplishments, and goals to the public, as well as garnering support from important members of the community, are important elements of a comprehensive communications strategy.

Ensure legal and ethical integrity and maintain accountability. The Board is ultimately responsible for ensuring adherence to legal standards and ethical norms. Solid policies will help ensure proper decorum in this area. The Board must establish pertinent policies, and adhere to provisions of the organization’s articles and bylaws.

Recruit and orient new Board members and assess Board performance. All Boards have a responsibility to articulate and make known their needs in terms of member experience, skills, and many other considerations that define a “balanced” Board composition. The Board must also orient new members to their responsibilities and the organization’s history, needs, and challenges. By evaluating its performance in fulfilling its responsibilities, the Board can recognize its achievements and reach consensus on which areas need to be improved.

Sign up for the weekly newsletter

Join the LION mailing list to get our weekly roundup of opportunities and resources for news entrepreneurs. View our most recent issues.