Senior Center Board Member Guide

Senior Center Board Member Guide

by Dara Rodda

Understanding Your Board

The Board of Directors is the backbone of our local senior centers. As board members of a nonprofit they are responsible for ensuring that their senior center is operating efficiently, providing meals to those senior citizens that want them, and maintaining a friendly environment to encourage people to come to their center.
A Board of Directors is normally made up of a vice president, president, secretary/treasurer, and other directors. The amount of directors you have on your board will be dependent on what your bylaws say about what makes a quorum (the minimum number of directors that must be in attendance at a meeting to pass a vote), AND how well you are recruiting new board members that want to contribute to your organization.

Governing Documents

Articles of Incorporation-Your nonprofit articles of incorporation is a legal document filed with the secretary of state to create your nonprofit corporation. This process is called incorporating. To see an example of this document, click here:

To visit Montana’s Secretary of State websites, click here:

Please note that an annual report MUST be filed with the Secretary of State every year in order for your organization to stay in compliance. The annual report can be filed on their website.

Bylaws- Nonprofit bylaws are a nonprofit’s operating manual. … They are the main official documents of an organization, nonprofit or for-profit. The board creates bylaws when the organization is established. Bylaws supplement the rules already defined by the state corporations code and will guide how your nonprofit will be run.
To see an example of nonprofit bylaws, click here:
IRS Affirmation Letters- An IRS Affirmation Letter is the official, written documentation of the Internal Revenue Service’s approval of a nonprofit’s request for 501(c), tax-exempt status.
To see an example of an IRS determination letter, click here:
To read more about affirmation letters including what to do if you have a change of address or change of name, click here:
Other Governing Documents- Documents that are not required but is good policy to have include:
Privacy Policy
Board Governance Policy
Whistleblower and Non-Retaliation Policy
Code of Ethics
Executive Compensation Policy
Conflict of Interest and Annual Statement
Public Reporting and Transparency Policy
Document Retention and Destruction Policy

To see examples of these, click here:

Board Responsibility
The board of directors is the governing body of a nonprofit. Individuals who sit on the board are responsible for overseeing the organization’s activities. Board members meet periodically to discuss and vote on the affairs of the organization. At a minimum, an annual meeting must occur with all board members present.

Financial Responsibility
The Board of Directors is responsible for the financial health of an organization. This means that they need to know about expenses that are incurred and how much money is coming in and where it is coming from. It is highly recommended that your board Treasurer look over monthly bank statements and reconciliations to make sure that taxes are being paid, bills are being paid, deposits are making it to the bank, etc. Having proper internal controls is very important. Internal controls are the mechanisms, rules, and procedures implemented by a company to ensure the integrity of financial and accounting information, promote accountability and prevent fraud. To learn more about internal controls we recommend watching this webinar:

Here is a list of reports we suggest be brought to your board meetings so that board members can rest easy, knowing the financial aspect of the business is being taken care of properly:

-Income and Expense Report
-IIIC Report

April- Form 941, UI5
August-Form 941, UI5,
November-Form 941, UI5, 990 or 990ez
January-Form 941, UI5, W3, MW3


941- This form is also known as the Employer’s Quarterly Tax Form and is used by employers to report the federal withholdings from most types of employees. It notifies the IRS of a number of important figures, like the employment taxes taken from employee pay and the amount owed to the IRS. To see an example of this form, click here:

940-IRS Form 940 is the federal unemployment tax annual report form. … If you have employees, you must report and pay unemployment taxes. You do not have to deduct these employment taxes from employee pay, but you must set aside amounts for this tax and report it on Form 940. NOTE: As a 501(c)3 you are EXEMPT from federal unemployment tax and do NOT need to file Form 940.

W3- This form, along with your employees W2s is transmitted to the IRS to let them know how much each employee was paid and how much taxes were withheld. To see an example of this form, click here:

UI5- Montana Employer’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) Quarterly Wage Report.To see an example of this form, click here:

MW3- Montana Annual W-2 1099 Withholding Tax Reconciliation. To see an example of this form, click here:

Other Financial Responsibilities

Nonprofits are goal based organizations. Their purpose is not to make money but rather to fulfill a need. For senior centers, that need is to have a place for seniors and the community to gather. It is to provide healthy, hot meals for seniors and the disabled that are homebound, and to provide congregate meals for those seniors looking for a reasonable priced meal with friends and fellow community members.

This means that there are times that money may be tight. Board members can help by writing grants, having fundraisers, and encouraging donations.

Understanding the State of Montana’s Aging Food and Nutrition Programs

There are a variety of food and nutrition programs offered through the Aging Network in Montana. They are funded by federal Older Americans Act and USDA funds, state and local dollars and client contributions.

The main goal of the programs is to enable older adults to remain healthy and independent, living in their homes and communities. Additional benefits include:

Promoting health and prevent disease;
Reducing malnutrition risk and improve nutritional status;
Reducing social isolation; and
Linking older adults to community services

Those eligible for services include:
A person aged 60 years of age and older;
A spouse of any age who resides with the eligible senior;
A disabled person residing with a person 60 years of age or older;
Disabled individuals who reside in housing facilities for the elderly where a congregate site exists are eligible for congregate meals;

Others may participate, but must pay the full cost of the meal.

Congregate Meals Program

Montana has about 170 congregate meal sites around the state. The majority of these sites are senior centers, but churches, fraternal organizations, nursing homes, and restaurants also serve as meal sites. Meals must comply with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Each site determines the frequency of meals served per week. Over 1,000,000 congregate meals are served annually to over 25,000 people.

Home Delivered Meals

Home delivered meals are targeted to those seniors who are unable to get to meal sites for a congregate meal. The vast majority of home delivered meals are served hot, but they can be delivered cold, frozen, dried, canned, or as supplemental foods. Meals must comply with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Each site determines the frequency of meals served per week. Over 600,000 home delivered meals are served annually to about 6,500 people.

Nutrition Consultations

The Aging Services Bureau contracts with Minkie Medora, a Registered Dietitian from Missoula, to offer consultations regarding nutrition issues relating to senior citizens, food safety issues at senior meal sites and other related health issues with any of the above listed providers.

For more information, contact: Jackie Stoeckel, State Office on Aging, or at (800) 332-2272 during normal business hours.

Employment Responsibilities

The Board of Directors is responsible for the staff and volunteers. Examples of staff and employees that typically work at a senior center are bookkeeper, maintenance staff, nutrition director, cook, home delivered meals driver, congregate meal cashier.

The Nutrition Director manages the nutrition programs and the staff/volunteers for these programs. Here is an example of some of the job duties that a Nutrition Director performs:

Examples of Duties
Plans, organizes, directs, controls, and evaluates nutrition services and programs.
Conducts Nutrition Assessments for potential clients.
Monitors quality of Home Delivered Meals and Congregate Meals for compliance with regulatory requirements.
Coordinates training for cooks and helpers.
Prepares and Posts menus at sites and online.
Monitors sanitation of kitchen and proper storage of food stuffs.
Supervises cooks, delivery drivers, and sometimes maintenance staff
Subs for the above position if another sub cannot be found
Maintains an employee handbook, suggests updates to the board
Plans, prepares, and administers operating and grant budgets (IIIC funding through Area VI Agency on Aging)
Directs the preparation of reports, correspondence, and grant funding proposals.
Establishes and maintains effective working relationships with staff, clients, and outside agencies.
Provides advice and consultation regarding nutrition issues to professional staff.
Directs all aspects of the daily operations of the Federal Title III C-1 Congregate Meals Nutrition Program.
Manages the Ensure program
Knowledge: Working knowledge of the operation of a commercial kitchen including sanitation,
storage and handling of foodstuffs. Working knowledge of volunteer coordination principles and
practices. General knowledge of good nutrition and health promotion. General knowledge of
principles and processes for providing customer services including techniques for handling
difficult people, active listening and assessing customer satisfaction.
Skill: Proven skill in organizing people and things. Proven skill in the use of a personal
computer and common software applications such as Microsoft Word, Access, Excel and
Microsoft Outlook. Considerable interpersonal skill, including oral and written communication is required.
Ability: Ability to work within a team concept using a prescribed approach.
Ability to travel within the area served by the program.
Ability to successfully interact with a wide range of individuals and organizations of diverse backgrounds and viewpoints.
Ability to supervise employees.
Ability to adapt to changing work duties and priorities.
Education and Experience: The preferred knowledge, skills and abilities described above are
typically acquired through the completion of a high school diploma or equivalent and a minimum
of two (2) years of relevant experience AND/OR relevant education and training OR a suitable
combination of education and experience. Volunteer work may be considered in evaluating
work experience.
Must possess a valid Montana driver’s license and proof of vehicle insurance and be available for limited travel for training.
Performs other related duties as assigned.
(NOTE: The duties and responsibilities listed above are for the purpose of determining a common set of minimum qualifications for all positions in this class. They may not include all of the essential job functions of each position in the class. Each position may not be required to perform all of the essential job functions listed.)

Community Access and Input

A nonprofit provides multiple means (telephone, fax, e-mail, and web form, for example) for contacting the organization to request information or provide input.
Boards of directors provide information to the public that describes their decisions and decision-making processes. They may make meeting agendas and descriptions of significant decisions available to those who request them.
A nonprofit is encouraged to engage a diverse cross-section of stakeholders in the development of goals and service delivery methods to carry out its mission and commits to sharing accomplishments and lessons learned through this engagement.

A nonprofit takes reasonable steps to make its public information, and, if applicable, its physical facility, accessible to its constituents, staff, board members, other stakeholders, and the community. All organizational communications adhere to the highest ethical and professional standards, as well as any applicable industry-specific standards, and exhibit transparency, fairness, and honesty. These standards are clearly stated in writing and made part of the orientation of all employees and volunteers, including board members.

A nonprofit has a clearly defined, written communications plan that guides both internal and external communications and that supports the organization’s comprehensive organizational plan. It is strategic and central to all organizational planning; it demonstrates accountability to constituents and the public.

A communications plan includes goals, target audiences, key messages, strategies, tools, intended outcomes, and a means to evaluate results.

Internal Communications

Internal communications are guided by clear policies and practices, such as regularly scheduled and attended meetings, regularly printed and/or e-mailed informational updates, a forum for suggestions, reports on meetings of the board of directors and its committees, recognition, and social events.

The line of communication between staff and the board of directors is clearly defined and well understood.
A nonprofit encourages internal communication that welcomes alternative perspectives, invites and encourages participation at all levels, minimizes defensiveness, and builds and maintains camaraderie. In addition, a nonprofit intentionally seeks out traditionally marginalized constituents, community members, and other stakeholders for their perspectives. Management solicits actively, listens carefully, and responds respectfully and with an awareness of its own biases.

External Communications

External communications are guided by clear marketing and public relations efforts. These may include a newsletter, website, social media channels, an annual report, advertising, public service announcements, promotional brochures and flyers, news releases, press conferences, and feature stories.

A nonprofit regularly reviews and updates its branding and messaging to accurately reflect and include the diversity of individuals that it currently serves and aspires to serve in the community.

A nonprofit identifies its spokesperson(s) who is/are authorized to make public statements about a given issue. All internal constituents are aware of who is designated as the spokesperson(s).

A nonprofit has a written policy and procedures for developing public statements and positions on issues. All internal constituents are aware of them. The statements and positions represent the full range of views of the organization’s constituencies and traditionally marginalized members of the community.

A nonprofit has a written plan for communicating with the public and the media at a time of crisis or emergency. This plan includes a procedure to communicate internally as well.

Constituents of nonprofits are provided with appropriate, ongoing opportunities to interact with the board of directors and management regarding the organization’s activities. A nonprofit provides anonymous methods, including a mailing address, for constituents to provide feedback regarding the organization’s activities.

A nonprofit responds promptly and respectfully per policy to grievances or complaints from constituents.

A nonprofit provides anonymous methods, including a mailing address, in which the constituent can state the grievance or complaint.

Ultimately, the success of your nonprofit is up to YOU and your fellow board members. This is designed to be a basic guide to help your run your organization. If you have additional questions or concerns, the staff at Lake County Council on Aging would love to research them for you and provide you with additional details about best practices.
Please call us at 676-2367 or email us at

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.