This publication is part of The Governance Series, a six-book collection addressing all of the fundamental elements of service common to most boards.

Board members have a fiduciary duty over the organization and its resources. In this book, we provide a preliminary understanding of the nonprofit legal landscape delivered in easy-to-understand terms. We also discuss the concept of fiduciary responsibility, summarize strategies for protecting board members from personal liability, and outline the policies and procedures that, increasingly, are becoming best practices within the sector. The appendix includes several samples of recommended board policies and a glossary of legal terms and concepts.

More about The Governance Series

The Governance Series addresses all of the fundamental elements of service common to most boards, including board member responsibilities, how to structure the board in the most efficient manner, and how to accomplish governance work in the spirit of the mission of the organization.

  1. Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards describes the ten core areas of board responsibility.
  2. Legal Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards elaborates on the board’s legal responsibilities, liabilities, and the oversight it should provide to protect the organization.
  3. Financial Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards explains board fiduciary responsibilities in the areas of financial oversight and risk management.
  4. Fundraising Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards helps board members understand why they should be actively engaged in ensuring adequate resources for the organization — and how to get involved in fundraising.
  5. The Nonprofit Board’s Role in Mission, Planning, and Evaluation shows how to define and communicate the organization’s mission and link strategic planning and evaluation to achieve organizational success.
  6. Structures and Practices of Nonprofit Boards offers guidance on how to build and structure the board (size, committees, term limits) and enhance leadership roles and the partnership between the chair and the chief executive.


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