Skip to main content

Roles and Responsibilities of Individual Board Members

Board members have no special privileges, prerogatives, or authority; they must meet in formal session to make organizational decisions. However, board members have certain responsibilities as individual ls.


1. Know and respect the organizations’ missions, visions, values, beliefs, intentions, purposes, goals, policies, programs, bylaws, procedures and strengths.

2. Serve in leadership positions or undertake special assignments willingly and enthusiastically when asked.

3. Welcome information and seek the best available advice, but reserve the right to arrive at decisions independently.

4. Comply with the nonpartisan policy, asking the board for guidance when a situation is unclear.


1. Work with staff as a partner in carrying out the mission and vision of the organizations, maintaining board oversight while not interfering with day-to-day administration and tasks of individual staff.

2. Avoid asking for special favors of or issuing directives to the staff, including special requests for extensive information.

3. Participate in the yearly evaluation of the Executive Director.


1. Exercise prudence in the expenditure of the organizations' funds.

2. Read faithfully and understand the organizations’ financial statements and otherwise help the board fulfill its fiduciary responsibility.


Board members are expected to contribute a financial gift that is significant for one's means. In addition, board members are expected to assist with some aspect of fund development. This might include:

1. Making calls to major donors, former national board members, or former off-board chairs. The goals of these calls may be:
a. Acknowledgement: Thank donor for previous gifts and for continued support
b. Cultivation: Building the relationship by asking about their League activities and interests, and telling them what is new with the national League.

c. Asking for a specific amount.

2. Forwarding names of family, friends and colleagues to be contacted.

3. Providing assistance on other areas such as:

a. Planning and hosting events in their area.
b. Meeting with foundations and/or corporations in their area.
c. Working with a few donors on proposals in their area of interest.
d. Conceptualizing and writing proposals for foundations and corporations.


1. Serve on boards/committees as assigned.

2. Prepare for and participate in board and committee meetings, including appropriate organizational activities such as Councils and Conventions.

3. Ask timely and substantive questions at board and committee meetings consistent with one’s conscience and convictions, while supporting the majority decision on issues decided by the board. Accept as routine that decisions must be made by majority vote and will at times not be the personal preference of all board members.

4. Maintain confidentiality of the board’s executive sessions.

5. Speak for the board or organization only when authorized to do so by the President/Chair.

6. Suggest agenda items for board and committee meetings to ensure that significant policy-related matters are addressed.


1. Review publications and written documents for nonpartisanship, balance, League sensitivities, needs of Leagues and/or public, impartiality, or League positions (depending on the nature of the publication and whether it is an LWVUS or an LWVEF publication).

2. Represent the organizations at meetings, state League Councils/Conventions, field service training, etc.

3. Serve as a liaison to assigned state and local Leagues (see "Guidelines for State/Local League Liaisons").


1. Endeavor to keep disagreements and controversies impersonal and to promote unity.

2. Serve the organizations as a whole rather than any special interest group or constituency.

3. Avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest or partisanship that might compromise the reputation of the organizations.

4. Maintain independence and objectivity and do what a sense of fairness, ethics and personal integrity dictate even when not necessarily obliged to do so by law, regulation or custom.