A strong partnership between the chief executive and board chair is essential to leading an effective organization. When the relationship goes awry, it’s often due to confusion over individual responsibilities.

But how do these general roles manifest in key responsibilities, such as fundraising or board meetings? Here is one example of how different responsibilities are allocated when discussing policy and planning:

Board Chair/Governance 

  • Develops and/or reviews guiding principles (mission, vision, values) and policies
  • Ensures effective planning, overseeing board involvement in development and approval of strategic plan
  • Monitors organization’s programs and services in support of the mission and strategic plan


  • Strategic planning and program evaluation
  • Mission impact Organizational growth and sustainability

Chief Executive/Management 

  • Commits to and carries out mission Provides administrative support for board policymaking
  • Engages the board in planning Implements strategic plan
  • Monitors the quality and effectiveness of individual programs, providing board with data and information needed to evaluate program effectiveness, impact, and outcomes

Read the full PDF about board chairs and chief executive responsibilities at BoardSource.