Understanding the Role & Responsibilities of a Nonprofit Advisory Board


One thing you should consider when forming for your nonprofit is an advisory board. But, what is an advisory board and how can it help your nonprofit? This article will explain the role and responsibilities of a nonprofit advisory board.


What Is a Nonprofit Advisory Board?

A nonprofit advisory board is a group of people who offer their time and expertise to help a nonprofit organization. The advisory board provides strategic direction, helps with fundraising, and offers advice and support to the nonprofit’s board of directors and staff.


What’s the Difference Between an Advisory Board and a Board of Directors?

The main difference between an advisory board and a Board of Directors is that an advisory board does not have legal responsibility for the nonprofit. Advisory board members are not responsible for making decisions about the nonprofit; they only offer advice and support.

Furthermore, an advisory board is not elected as a Board of Directors. Advisory board members are usually people with expertise in a certain area who are recruited by the nonprofit. Nonprofits are not required to have an advisory board, but many find that it is helpful to have one.


What are the Core Roles and Responsibilities of an Advisory Board?

The core responsibilities of an advisory board are to provide advice, support, and strategic direction to the nonprofit. Advisory board members should be familiar with the mission of the nonprofit and be able to offer their expertise to help the nonprofit achieve its goals.

There are many types of advisory boards, but all share the same goal of helping the nonprofit succeed. Some advisory boards may be more involved in fundraising, while others may provide more general advice and support. Depending on the type, their specific responsibilities will vary. However, you will typically find that advisory boards do some of the following:

-Fundraising:  Many advisory boards help with fundraising. They may identify potential donors, help write grant proposals, or organize fundraising events.

-Strategic Direction: Advisory boards can help nonprofits with strategic planning. They can provide advice on what direction the nonprofit should take and how to achieve its goals.

-Support: One of the most important roles of an advisory board is to offer support to the nonprofit. This may include offering advice, providing resources, or being a sounding board for ideas.

-Leadership Development: Advisory boards can help nonprofits with leadership development. They can provide advice on how to develop leaders within the organization and identify potential leaders for the future.

-Provide Specialized Expertise:  Another role of advisory boards is to provide specialized expertise. Advisory board members can offer their expertise in a particular area to help the nonprofit. This may include marketing, finance, law, or another area of expertise.

-Gather Community Insights:  Advisory boards can help nonprofits by gathering community insights. They can provide feedback on the nonprofit’s programs and services and offer suggestions for improvement.

-Give the Nonprofit a Credibility Boost:   Having an advisory board can give a nonprofit organization more credibility. Advisory boards can help build relationships with other businesses and organizations and raise the profile of the nonprofit.

-Help Out with Donor Relations:  Advisory boards can also help with donor relations. They can cultivate relationships with potential donors and help the nonprofit build a database of potential donors.



As you can see, there are many different roles and responsibilities of an advisory board. Advisory boards can be a great asset to a nonprofit, but it’s important to understand what they can and cannot do. If you’re thinking of starting an advisory board, or if you’re already on one, use this guide to make sure you’re fulfilling your responsibilities.