A board is primarily responsible for a nonprofit's mission and operations, making sure that it's run ethically and legally. Board members are chosen because they're passionate about the nonprofit's work or have the expertise the organization needs to achieve its mission.
A board member is responsible for attending board meetings and seeing that the organization is well run. A board member may hold an office--board president, vice president, secretary or treasurer--that has added responsibilities. A board member may also head up or serve on a board committee, e.g., the fund-raising committee.
A board determines the nonprofit's mission and purpose. According to BoardSource, board members create and periodically review the nonprofit's mission statement, which describes the purpose of the nonprofit.
Board members hire an executive director and regularly evaluate his job performance. Board members must also agree on the executive director's responsibilities.
BoardSource says that one of a board's most important responsibilities is to make sure the nonprofit has the resources to do its work. Board members assist in developing the nonprofit's annual budget, approve it and ensure proper financial controls are in place.
The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits notes that board members "approve appropriate compensation and benefit policies and practices" for the nonprofit's management and staff.