Nonprofit tip: what is an Ex-officio board member?

There is often confusion among those new to working with a board about why some board members are ex officio board members. What does this mean? Ex officio board members are individuals who serve on the board because they hold a key position within the organization or have a key relationship to the organization. They are not elected to the board; when they stepped into the key position or relationship, they automatically became board members. Why? Because they have responsibilities that are linked to the board in important ways.

Do ex officio board members automatically have voting rights? No. Legally, the term ex officio does not address voting rights. Therefore, it is very important that your bylaws address this issue and make it very clear if your ex officio board members have — or do not have — voting rights. This information should appear in the section of your bylaws addressing board member selection.



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