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President / Chairperson
Job Description

a help sheet from Nathan Garber & Associates 

This generic position description was a collaborative effort of number of subscribers to the Boards and Governance forum of The original draft was developed by Nathan Garber, moderator of the forum. Additional contributions were provided by Adam Kerman, Stephen Nill, Hildy Gottlieb, Mike de Freitas, Jane Garthson, David Darwin. To view the full discussion, consult the archives for January, 2001. We make no claim to having the "definitive" job description. Every organization has its own unique history and structure. No job description can suit every organization and it would be a mistake to try to adopt any job description without critical evaluation and reference to your own unique circumstances. We offer this as a starting point for your own work.

General Responsibilities 

The President is responsible for ensuring that the Board of Directors and its members: are aware of and fulfill their governance responsibilities; comply with applicable laws and bylaws; conduct board business effectively and efficiently; are accountable for their performance. (see note 1)

In order to fulfill these responsibilities, and subject to the organization's bylaws, the President presides over meetings, proposes policies and practices, sits on various committees, monitors the performance of Directors and Officers, submits various reports to the board, to funders, and to other "stakeholders"; proposes the creation of committees; appoints members to such committees; and performs other duties as the need arises and/or as defined in the bylaws. 


The President is accountable to the Board of Directors or Members as specified in the bylaws. The President may delegate specific duties to the Executive Director, Board members and/or committees as appropriate; however, the accountability for them remains with the President.

Specific Duties 


The President ensures that an agenda is planned for board meetings. This may involve periodic meetings with committee chairpersons and the Executive Director to draft annual and meeting agendas and reporting schedules. 

The President presides over meetings of the Board of Directors. In this capacity, the President: 

  • chairs meetings according to accepted rules of order for the purposes of 
    • encouraging all members to participate in discussion;
    • arriving at decisions in an orderly, timely and democratic manner; 
  • votes as prescribed in the bylaws. In boards that operate with and executive committee, the President performs the above duties for the executive committe

Board Committees 

The President serves as an ex-officio member of board committees specified in the bylaws. In this capacity, the President's role is

  • to serve as a voting member of the committee (if specified in the bylaws);
  • to negotiate reporting schedules;
  • to identify problems and assist the committee chairperson to resolve them, and if necessary, to bring them to the attention of the Board of Directors. 

Board-Staff Relations 

The President is the primary liaison between the Board and the executive director. In this capacity, the President:

  •  meets periodically with the executive director;
  • ensures that periodic performance reviews of the executive director are conducted;
  • participates in the hiring and evaluation of the executive director. 

Community Relations 

The President ensures that the organization maintains positive and productive relationships with media, funders, donors, and other organizations. In this capacity, the President serves as primary spokesperson for the organization Duties may include:

  •  representing the organization to the media;
  • representing the organization on governmental or nongovernmental organizations and committees;
  • timely and appropriate reporting of Board decisions and actions to members and/or funders and/or donors.

Signing Officer 

The President is normally designated by the Board of Directors and/or bylaws as one of the signing officers for certain documents. In this capacity, the President may be authorized or required to sign or countersign cheques, correspondence, applications, reports, contracts or other documents on behalf of organization.

Board Development 

The President ensures that structures and procedures are in place for effective recruitment, training, and evaluation of board members. 

Fund Raising 

The President ensures that structures and procedures are in place for securing the resources required by the organization. Depending upon the organization, this may require the President to play a leadership role in fundraising campaigns through personal contributions of services and money.


Depending upon the organization's needs and its bylaws, the President may establish or propose the establishment of committees of the Board, and may assign tasks and delegate responsibilities to board committees and/or directors.

Note 1 

This document uses the word "ensure" to convey the intent that accountability for the specified responsibilities lies with the President but it is not necessarily the President who carries out the activity. Indeed, we expect that many of these responsibilities will be delegated to board committees, staff, or others including experts retained for a specific purpose. The word "ensure" is not intended to imply any additional source of legal duties beyond those that are required by law.



Nathan Garber & Associates
Training and Consulting for the Nonprofit Sector
1071 Richmond Street, London, Ontario, Canada  N6A 3K1
tel: (519) 670-4256  skype: nathan.garber