Financial Skills for Non-Profit Boards

Nonprofit Boards are responsible for a broad range of governance activities to support the mission and sustain the organization. Responsibilities for financial stewardship and oversight, also called “Fiduciary Responsibility”, require that the Board includes members with the background and experience to make appropriate financial decisions about donated funds.


What professions give nonprofit Board members the appropriate financial background and experience? As usual, there isn’t just one “right” answer.


Consider these four professional backgrounds when looking for finance-savvy Board members:


  1. Accountant

Accounting professionals have technical training and experience that help nonprofits get accurate financial reports and understand them. Board members who work in public accounting or in a corporate setting know how to use budgets and financial statements as planning and management tools.


  1. Banker

Lenders and other banking professionals help a range of businesses and nonprofits to meet their financial needs. That experience gives bankers knowledge about financially sustaining and managing an organization. They also know about the actions necessary to achieve financial goals and assess risk.


  1. Project Manager

Project management boils down to planning, tracking and controlling the budget, schedule, and resources to achieve a goal. Project managers have organizational and analytical skills to help nonprofits plan and assess financial decisions, monitor results, and track achievements.


  1. Administrative/Chief Operating Officer

Prospective Board members with experience running a business, agency, or department provide an opportunity to increase your Board’s financial IQ. Administrators and COOs are familiar with the inputs and considerations needed to make informed and appropriate financial decisions.


Nonprofits rely on Board member knowledge and experience to make informed and appropriate financial decisions. Getting the right mix of Board members with a financial background to make appropriate financial decisions is crucial for nonprofits to fulfill their Fiduciary Respo