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Role of the Chair

The finance committee chair is most often the board treasurer, whose specific duties are usually described in the organization’s bylaws. In practice, these duties can vary considerably from a hands-on role, in the case of the “working board” model, to a more supervisory role where transactions are largely handled by staff.

The chair of the finance committee makes sure the committee does its job. Specific duties of the chair include:

1. Serving as the principal liaison between the committee and the full board,
2. Working with the staff leader to set an agenda for each committee meeting,
3. Notifying members about the meeting,
4. Ensuring handouts and reports are prepared and sent to committee members in advance.
5. Leading the meetings, keeping to agenda topics and timing.
6. Taking and circulating notes from the meetings, documenting decisions and action item assignments.
7. Holding members accountable for following through on task assignments.

An annualized committee work plan is a useful tool for organizing the committee’s work. This could take the form of a month-by-month timeline or calendar that integrates budgeting and financial planning deadlines, governmental and legal filing deadlines, internal report deadlines, dates to review and update policies and procedures, and dates of finance committee meetings and full board meetings for the year.

The treasurer or finance committee chair does not always have to be a professional “numbers” person but good judgment, logic, curiosity, and a commitment to accountability and the long-term financial stability of the organization are vital traits. A good treasurer or finance committee chair will have, or quickly develop, a basic understanding of nonprofit financial reporting and the IRS 990.



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