Already know what you’re looking for?

Up and Running
For Boards of Directors Templates for Boards A Guide to Co-operative Insurance How to Read Financial Statements Keeping track of members in a co-op Everything you need to know about managing records Board Governance Tips for Indigenous Co-operatives Sample Bookkeeper Contract How to write a Board of Directors’ Code of Conduct  Write a compliance checklist How to issue dividends Sample Co-op Equity Statement Member Engagement and Onboarding Guidelines for co-operative elections Filing your Annual Return Co-operative Annual General Meetings Ongoing Capitalization How to allocate your co-op’s profits

Sample Board Duties

The board of directors is central to all co-operatives. Boards represent the co-op’s members and oversee operations in pursuit of the co-op goals. For many co-ops without staff, the board also manages the organization in addition to their governance role. Prospective board members should be aware of the expectations of board members and ensure they can participate fully. Boards and nominations committees should communicate their expectations to members to ensure nominees understand what they’re signing up for and how much work is involved. 

This tool provides an overview of key responsibilities assigned to the board of directors and its officers. Be sure to expand these lists to reflect your co-op’s operations and expectations of board members. 

Core Duties of the Board

  • Strategic planning
    • Identify goals for the co-operative
    • Articulate the co-op’s vision and purpose with members
    • Update the co-op’s business plan
  • Manage the finances of the co-operative
    • Set a budget
    • Authorize spending
    • Approve taking on debt
    • Monitor revenue and expenses
  • Oversee financial performance
    • Review financial statements
    • Work with to co-op’s auditor
    • Implement strategies to support financial sustainability
    • Report to members on the financial performance
  • Develop any policies and procedure
    • Articulate key processes and practices used by the co-op
    • Draft and maintain any policies or manuals
  • Member Engagement
    • Represent the membership
    • Report to members at the annual meeting
    • Create and oversee a process for new member onboarding
  • Oversee management
    • Hire the executive director/CEO
    • Set executive compensation
    • Review the CEO’s performance

Boards also need to be aware of their “fiduciary duties” to the co-op: for more on these, read our blog post.

All Board Members

  • Should read all board materials ahead of meetings
  • Participate in discussions at board meetings and vote on decisions
  • Limit notetaking and rely on the minutes as the official record of the co-op
  • Promote the co-operative in the community and engage members
  • Proactively identify areas for improvement in the co-op’s operations and governance
  • Participate on the committees of the co-op


  • Chair all board and member meetings of the co-operative
  • Call and set the agenda for the board 
  • Ensure the co-op is compliant with relevant legislation and following best practices on governance and decision-making
  • Provide leadership to the board and liaise with the CEO
  • Ensure the board is performing well and meeting expectations
  • Manage conflict on the board and among directors
  • Lead the board through evaluation and recruitment processes


  • Chair meetings and set meeting agendas in the absence of the president
  • Any other duties assigned by the president


  • Chair the Finance, Audit, and Risk Committee
  • Present financial reports to the board and membership at meetings
  • Lead the development of the co-ops budget
  • Work closely with the co-op’s auditor 
  • Liaise with the co-op’s finance team


  • Record minutes at meetings of the co-operative
  • Oversee the maintenance of the policy manual and records of the co-operatives
  • Oversee the compliance measure related to reporting and record-keeping

Curious how to start a co-operative? Start here. Not sure what a co-operative is? Give this a read.

Was this useful?

12 people found this useful.