Duties and Funstions of Board of and NGO

Constituting an NGO Board

There is a growing need for NFP and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) throughout the world to be more effective and productive. One the many ways they are achieving this is by broadening and strengthening the constitution of their Boards. An increase in the effectiveness of NGO board itself has been achieved by bringing together organizations and leaders with a shared interest in the work of boards; building capacity by training; and developing management andgovernance tools. Having a good and effective NGO Board provides a basis for successful management of its organization; familiarizes its target constituents with the activities of the NGO; help in better understanding the organizational structure of the NGO, and also assists in distributing responsibilities among the team members within the NGO organization. An NGO Board may be called by different names - 'Board of Directors; 'Steering Committee' 'Advisory Group' etc.The term 'Board' is used collectively and interchangeably to mean all these names.

Board Functions

How does an NGO board function? What does it do? It first of all, sets policies and strategies for the NGO, in line with the agreed purposes, principles and scope of the NGO. It also sets operational guidelines, work plans and budgets for the NGO and policy and program support. Many times, it is also called on to make funding decisions.

It assists the internal workings of the NGO by setting criteria for membership of, and appointing, review panels and/or support groups. It may also establish a framework for monitoring and periodic independent evaluation of performance and financial accountability of activities supported by the NGO.

One of its main roles is representation of the NGO in the larger community. It represents views of the NGO in various constituencies, or within the NGO community in relation to outside organizations. It is frequently asked to coordinate with outside agencies, as well as advocate for the NGO, and mobilize resources.

Often, the Board is the first contact that an NGO's target audience have, and in some cases it is the first contact where peoples' concerns are actually heard - due to the high standing of Board members in the community. The Board's presence in the field sometimes forces decision-makers to listen to affected peoples' concerns, and can help to open up alternative solutions. Within the board set-up itself, an NGO board selects and appoints chairpersons for the Board, and also participates on committees and working groups of the NGO.

Mandate and working methods

What is the mandate and working methods of an NGO board members? They participate fully in all meetings of the Board (including study all relevant documents in order to provide input in the decision-making process). Many NGO Board Members are also expected to participate in teleconferences and other virtual means of communications among Board members, the NGO community, networks and with the other NGO Board members - especially due to their work schedules etc.

NGO Board Members advocate the participation of community representatives in the design, implementation and evaluation of policies and programs at all levels of the NGO. They provide input into equitable and appropriate allocation of resources and maintain a focus on issues of importance to the community and NGO movements in general. Board members also seek input from the community on key issues related to relevant documents and consult with and report to the broader community of NGOs and CBOs and people and communities, as well as appoint advisors for the NGO's programs and projects.

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