Social Enterprise Resource Bank

Creating Your Board

By John McCarty, Program Officer, Hope Credit Union

When developing a nonprofit organization, you will find that many are willing to serve on the board. Unfortunately, board members are often not given the necessary training to serve most effectively in their new roles. The “yes” comes from their heart and desire to help, not from an evaluation of their capacity, whether time or skill, to complete the required tasks.

Board members: monitor the spending by reviewing the financial documents; ensure that the nonprofit is ethical and fiscally responsible; have the duty to hire or release directors from their positions; set the compensation for the director; serve as the grievance board for employees; and make decisions that promote the organization’s sustainability and mission. They are ambassadors for the organization in the community.

Equip your board members by giving them the tools to promote your organization in the community. Craft an elevator speech and share it with them. Board members will need to know their jobs within their respective roles to perform them well. Write job descriptions and provide an orientation to new members so they know what is expected of them and have an insider perspective of the organization’s body of work.

Board members must:
1) Believe in the cause or work of the organization
2) Be willing to help fundraise, which is one of their main functions
3) Be willing to invest time and/or money in the organization
4) Be actively engaged through meetings and events
5) Not financially benefit from the organization

These volunteer positions are essential to steering the organization and sharing the work of the organization’s mission.

Additional Resources

John McCarty has spent his career giving back to others. As the Quality Assurance Coordinator of Open Doors Homeless Coalition, he organized Project Homeless Connect, which is a services fair where the homeless population over the Coastal counties of Mississippi come for healthcare, job placement assistance, food, and assistance connecting with social services. His continued desired to aid others led him to Hope Credit Union, where he serves as a Program Officer. His main duties are to teach financial literacy and credit counseling to community members, particularly those in low-income areas, in an effort to help them grow financially.

The NBA incubates new ministries, supporting social entrepreneurs of faith who are serving their communities in a variety of innovative ways and empowering these Disciples-led health and social service projects to focus on growth, impact, and sustainability. Learn more at or by contacting Rev. Ayanna Johnson Watkins, Director of the NBA Incubate Initiative.