8 criteria for nonprofit board treasurers

When working with nonprofit organizations, I often get a chance to see how well (or how poorly) the board functions in support of the organization. One of the most critical positions is that of treasurer. Even if a nonprofit organization has paid staff for keeping books, the treasurer provides financial guidance.

According to Board Source (www.boardsource.org), here are the job duties for a board treasurer:

  • Attend all board meetings
  • Maintain knowledge of the organization and personal commitment to its goals and objectives
  • Understand financial accounting for nonprofit organizations
  • Serve as the chair of the finance committee
  • Manage, with the finance committee, the board’s review of and action related to the board’s financial responsibilities
  • Work with the chief executive and the chief financial officer to ensure that appropriate financial reports are made available to the board on a timely basis
  • Present the annual budget to the board for approval
  • Review the annual audit and answer board members’ questions about the audit

I suggest that financial experience is helpful and even necessary, depending on the situation. The treasurer needs to be able to field questions about the finances and financial reports. Treasurers can also be very helpful in the budget process to recommend ways for the budget to stay focused on the priorities of the organization. Boards need to consider both the present and to future needs for growth.

If you’re not already familiar with Board Source, they are an unbiased resource for nonprofit organizations. From their Web site:  “BoardSource supports, trains, and educates more than 60,000 nonprofit board leaders from across the country each year. With more than 20 years of experience, BoardSource provides leaders with an extensive range of tools and resources — including Webinars, in-person training sessions, original publications, consulting services, and customized diagnostics — to increase their effectiveness and magnify the impact of their mission. BoardSource is a 501(c)(3) organization.”