To transform and to address the needs of a vulnerable population of foster girls, adolescent mothers and their unborn child that traditionally have no other suitable place to live.
1. Believer/Evangelist.First and foremost, the person who would be chair needs to believe strongly in the mission of the organization, its work, and its people. The chair must identify with the goals of this work and push for the highest quality impact and outcome. The chair must give the time and resources to back up this belief, constituting the role model for all constituents of the organization, certainly all of the other board members.
2. Quarterback: Enthusiastically rallying the board member team, getting everyone to do their part in moving the organization forward is one of the most important qualities a chair should have. The chair leads, motivates, delegates, and otherwise acts to maximize the benefits to the nonprofit of all of the various abilities, resources, and experience of each and every board member and volunteer.
3. Cheerleader/ Ambassadorfor the organization, its mission, its work, its board and its staff. Internally and externally, the chair should actively and energetically extol, support, sustain, encourage, mentor and generally exert the leadership that results in success and high morale. The board chair serves as the principal representative of the community to the nonprofit and, simultaneously, the chief diplomat and advocate for the organization in the community, serving as the principal person accountable to the community for its trust.
4. Presider/ Organizer.Not only does the chair set the tone in the conduct of the board meeting, focusing discussion on issues at hand, ensuring decisions on critical policy, on finances, on developments and on relevant questions that need timely board action, but the chair also sets the pattern for the conduct of committees, selection of chairs, grooming of successors and succession planning for the entire organization. The culture of the board and its behavior are largely the creatures of the chair.
5. Executive Director Support.The chair must establish close links with the executive director, frequent interactions, readiness to respond to questions and requests, thus developing the symbiosis necessary for a functional relationship. Together, they need to plan meetings, discuss agendas, select individuals for board responsibility, and consider matters the ED raises, without having any operational micromanagement from the chair.
6. Learner/Planner/Futurist.In both large and small measure,the chair serves as the chief board planner. From planning board meeting agendas with the executive director to initiating long-term strategic planning processes, the chair, with the ED, serves as originator, organizer, and appointer of committee chairs and members. The chair them should ensure systematic monitoring of the plan through operating plans, scorecards and other empirical measures of achievement. Through this process, the chair needs to be a learner as well, positioning the board and organization continuous improvement. The chair must one of those who keep looking ahead, aware of changes in the larger society and help to translate these trends into meaning for the nonprofit board and staff.
7. Resource Developer/Philanthropist.Starting the fiscal year with their own gift, chairs have the special responsibility to ensure 100% board financial support. Such support must be substantial, within the ability of the members, not symbolic. Chairs must help open doors to other resources, accompany staff on solicitations where chairs, not staff, ask for the gift, and generally assist in the enlargement of organization constituency.
8. Talent Scout.The quality and performance of the board is only as good as the people who serve on it. This is also the responsibility of chairs, along with heads of the governance or nominating committees, to find the talent, the diversity of skills needed, the experience and the wisdom of people who will serve, attend board meetings, participate in the life of the organization and contribute their own resources and cultivate and solicit others to do the same.
9. Biggest Fan/Attendee.A chair’s enthusiasm for the nonprofit, its board, staff and work, is infectious. Showing up at events, staff picnics, galas, other fundraisers, house parties and encouraging others to do the same is a valuable part of the work of the chair. When the chair invites others to events, it constitutes a model for other board members and volunteers to do the same.
10. Financier.Along with appointed chairs of finance and audit, the chair must be totally aware of the finances of the group, its budget, cash flow, debt, investments, overheads, operating statement, balance sheet, and audit.Close monitoring of finances, especially in the current environment, isa necessary and essential component of the task. Awareness of alternate sources of revenue, entrepreneurial possibilities, and for-profit/nonprofit collaborations will help guide the institution and ensure its future.
11. Evaluator.The chair should take responsibility for the annual self-evaluation of the board as well as the evaluation of the ED in a systematic and objective manner. Results for board and ED must then constitute an important part of the continuous improvement agenda for which the chair should assume responsibility. If the change in board membership or in the executive director is dictated, then the chair is the person to drive the change.
12. Resilient Defender/Reorganizer. If or when the organization hits a bad patch, whether financial, operational, legal or otherwise, the board chair must step up publicly and assume responsibility to fix the problem, if, indeed, a problem exists. Seeking the needed expertise, the chair should diligently work to ensure measures are taken expeditiously to restore confidence and trust in the organization, its people, and operations. This may involve a number of hard decisions that must be made, and it is the chair’s responsibility to ensure that the Board makes these decisions.
13. Transparent leader.In all that the chair does, it must be done in the open, be as predictable as possible and widely communicated among the board, sometimes more widely. Clearly, certain matters necessarily need be confidential, although the chair should ensure that these remain minimal. Transparency is the twin characteristic of accountability, so necessary in any chair of a nonprofit in today’s environment of public disclosure, available 990’s, rating agencies, and increasing regulatory scrutiny.
Job Type: Internship