Abby's House Board
A Board of Directors at a non-profit are essentially the "owners" of the organization. Although the Executive Director provides day-to-day management and oversight of the staff and programs, the legal "buck" stops with the Board of Directors. The Executive Director works in partnership with the board, but the board of directors is responsible for governing the corporation.
The board at a non-profit organization is comprised completely of volunteers. The good news is that it doesn't require any special type of experience to become a board member -- what matters most is that our board members are passionate about the mission and eager to help us realize it. We provide all the training and support our board members need to do a good job!
The ten key legal responsibilities of a non-profit Board of Directors are as follows:
1. Determine the mission (or purpose) of the organization. The mission statement articulates the organization's goals, strategy, and primary constituents served. At Abby’s House, our mission is to provide shelter, housing and advocacy to homeless women and children.
2. Select the chief executive (usually called the Executive Director). The board must agree on the duties and responsibilities the Director will carry out, then undertake a careful search to find the most qualified individual for the position.
3. Support and evaluate the Executive Director. The board needs to ensure that the Director has the moral and professional support she/he needs to implement the organization's mission. Today’s board works in tandem and partnership with the Director to make sure the work gets done. It is also their duty to conduct an annual review of the Director's performance.
4. Ensure effective planning. It is the board’s responsibility to conduct a strategic planning process that results in a plan that will guide the organization in meeting its mission for the next 2-3 years. The most effective plans are created in conjunction with the staff, who are most familiar with the day-to-day operations and issues affecting the organization. Once the plan is developed, the board assists in implementing and monitoring the plan's goals.
5. Monitor and strengthen the organization's programs and services. The board's responsibility is to ensure that program evaluation is taking place and that they see the results so they can make sure the agency’s programming is consistent with the organization's mission and are effective. The actual evaluation is conducted by the staff or an outside consultant.
6. Ensure that the organization has adequate financial resources. One of the board's principal responsibilities is to participate in fundraising so that the agency has sufficient resources to fulfill its mission.
7. Protect the agency’s assets and provide effective financial oversight. The board develops the annual budget in conjunction with the Executive Director, monitors the budget on a monthly basis, and ensures that proper financial controls are in place (ex: monthly financial reports, annual audit, etc.).
8. Build a competent board. All boards have a responsibility to articulate what type of people they need to create a strong board, identify people with those characteristics and vet them through an interview and nomination process, elect and orient new members, and periodically and comprehensively evaluate their own performance. Effective boards engage in ongoing skill development, which helps them do a good job.
9. Ensure the legal and ethical integrity of the organization. The board is ultimately responsible to make sure that the agency adheres to any and all legal standards and ethical norms.
10. Enhance the organization's public standing by acting as ambassadors and champions. The board should be able to clearly articulate the organization's mission, accomplishments, and goals to the public and garner support from the community.
Members of the Abby Kelley Foster House, Inc. (Abby's House) Board of Directors for 2012 are as follows:
Laurie Bowater, Treasurer
Marie Fusaro Davis
Peggy M. Dix
Eileen Galvin Karr
Lynne McKenney Lydick
Sue Manero, Vice President
Natalie Mello, President
The board also has numerous committees, which are comprised of board and non-board members:
Planning Committee -- This group oversees the strategic planning process
Finance Committee -- This group oversee the finances of the organization and work with the Executive Director determine the annual budget
Human Resources Committee -- This group evaluates the Executive Director's performance and acts as the nominating committee
Audit Committee -- This group oversees the annual audit.
Ad Hoc Committees -- Sometimes we have special projects that require a committee to oversee them.
If you're interested in exploring the possibility of joining our board, please complete the Prospective Board/Committee Form to obtain more information, or contact Tess Sneesby, Executive Director, (508) 756-5486 extension 20.
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