Boards That Work

Price: $99

Includes the 3-month unlimited access and all the course downloads.

Choose your purchase option.

Serving on a board can be a very meaningful and rewarding experience. You have the opportunity to support an organization you care about, while also expanding your own knowledge, skills and network of relationships. Whether you work in the nonprofit sector, serve on a nonprofit board or are thinking about one day volunteering on a board, this course is designed to help you understand how boards work.

Learning Objectives

  • Explain what a board is and why we have them.
  • List the 3 duties, 4 roles and 10 responsibilities of boards.
  • Clarify the relationship between the board and the chief executive.
  • Distinguish when to create a committee and when to use a task force.
  • Describe the board’s role in fund development.
  • Communicate leading effective board practices.

Course Curriculum

  • Part One: Introduction to Boards
  • Part Two: Board Duties, Roles and Responsibilities
  • Part Three: The Board/Staff Partnership
  • Part Four: Board Building & Structures
  • Part Five: Board’s Role in Fund Development
  • Part Six: Effective Board Practices

Links and Additional Resources

  • 7 downloadable resources and course transcript
  • 13 links to online resources

Course Level/Prerequisites/Certification Credits

Introductory level, no prerequisites. 

The Better Board Kit — for organizations
Does your board already know the basics? Improve your overall effectiveness with the Better Board Kit that includes an online Board Self-Evaluation Survey and a facilitation guide that will walk your board through a planning session based on the survey results. Contact us to find out more!

Recommended companion courses: Strategic Planning, Writing Effective Policies and Procedures

Final Exam –Take the optional final exam at the end of the course. If you pass with 70% or higher, please contact with your exam score to receive your course certificate.

This training may be used to meet the requirements for renewing the Certified in Volunteer Administration (CVA) credential. One Professional Development Unit (PDU) is awarded for each 50-60 minute session or contact hour in topics related to volunteer resources management. For more details about the CVA program and renewal requirements, visit or email

Continuing education certification-eligible through the Professional Administrators of Volunteer Resources – Ontario (PAVR-O). For more information, please email 


This course is on-demand, meaning that you can take it anytime, at your own pace. The course will take approximately 1.5 hours to complete from start to finish, but you have unlimited access for 3 months. You can choose to take the course in one sitting or in smaller bites. Either way, the course is entirely flexible and up to you how fast you complete it!

About the Course Author

Dr. Sharilyn Hale partners with those who want to make the world better.  With a 20+ year leadership career spanning the social profit sector, she draws on expertise in philanthropic strategy, organizational development, governance and research.  Sharilyn started her career as a professional fundraiser, and is Past Chair of CFRE International, the global fundraising credential.  Prior to launching Watermark, she created and led the women-driven campaign for the award-winning $80 million YWCA Elm Centre, providing affordable and supportive homes for women.  She is a governance advisor and trainer with BoardSource, and a Chartered Director (C.Dir).  With a deep history and track record in the local and international philanthropic communities, she serves on the Board of the Toronto Public Library Foundation, and is a leadership volunteer for the Imagine Canada accreditation program for charities in Canada – and coaches organizations to achieve these standards. She was also a Provincial Appointee to the Ontario Trillium Foundation.  Sharilyn holds a doctorate degree in leadership, is a Research Associate with the Centre for Global Generosity and has written and co-authored numerous publications.  She is a member of the Advisory Council for Canada’s first graduate degree program in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at Carleton University; a program initiated by a group of sector leaders  – including Sharilyn – who saw a need to build Canada’s philanthropic capacity.

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