What is a Board of Advisors? (Overview, Roles, and Responsibilities)

  • By: Josh Palmer
  • January 17, 2023
Board of Advisors
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Board of Advisors

A board of advisors complements the board or directors' skills to help an organization or business achieve its goals. We cover its typical duties.

While a board of directors is instrumental to the success of a corporation or nonprofit organization, they sometimes require outside help to fill gaps in skills, knowledge, or even time. An advisory board helps fill those gaps by supplementing specific areas in which the board lacks expertise. Read on to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of an advisory board.

What is a Board of Advisors?

An advisory board is a group of experts who lend their skills, guidance, and knowledge to an organization (corporation, nonprofit, or association). They offer advice in any subject matter that goes beyond the board’s expertise, or just provide a second opinion to help the board make more confident decisions.                     

By creating an advisory board full of people they trust, a board of directors avoids having to scout and hire costly outside consultants who may not have their organization’s best interests at heart.

Board of Advisors Roles and Responsibilities

An advisory board has no legal responsibility for an organization, meaning they have no voting rights and cannot make financial decisions on the organization’s behalf. Instead, they help steer an organization to success with the following responsibilities. 

Provide Strategic Oversight and Direction

Advisory boards leverage their experience to help organizations stay on top of industry trends. This helps businesses beat the competition, streamline their customer service based on new customer behaviors, or tailor their products and message to reach a wider audience. 

A board of advisors also provides critical thinking and analysis to increase the confidence of decision-makers in the organization and reveal hidden operational inefficiencies.

Support the Organization’s Goals and Objectives

The role of an advisory board is to offer guidance that helps an organization reach its goals. Since they don’t have legal obligations, it’s up to the business whether they act upon advice from the board of advisors. 

Provide Mentorship to Board Members

As trusted advisors, the members of an advisory board serve as mentors to directors. While their primary goal is assisting the organization in achieving its mission, they also help board directors develop leadership skills.

Hosting an Effective Board of Advisors Meeting

Similar to a board of directors, an advisory board holds meetings. These meetings should be engaging and effective to provide maximum value to the organization. To host an effective advisory board meeting, follow the steps below: 

  • Establish an appropriate date, time, and location, and share them to advisors in advance. 
  • Create a detailed agenda that identifies the meeting’s purpose and discussion topics. Send the agenda to board members a few days before the meeting. 
  • Ensure every member has access to all crucial meeting documents.

Board management technology, like OnBoard, aids in advisory board meeting preparation with a drag-and-drop agenda builder that everyone on the board can access in real time. This makes meeting prep more reliable, context-rich, and useful, to enable more thoughtful and engaging board discussions.

Effective Board of Advisors Leverage Board Management Technology

Beyond preparation, OnBoard helps power more effective meetings for better advisor decision-making with the following features:

  • Agenda Time Management keeps your meetings focused and on-schedule, automatically issuing reminders 15 minutes before your meeting is scheduled to end.
  • Dynamic Voting allows boards to vote on measures directly in the platform.
  • Minutes Builder enables advisory board members to effortlessly make notes, create tasks, track attendance, and mark motions as the meeting progresses.

And location barriers are no longer a problem with OnBoard’s direct Zoom Integration and Secure Messenger features. Ultimately, the board portal platform uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to bring new insights to board work, increase director engagement, and clarify strategic priorities.

Download OnBoard’s free Meeting Minutes Template for an example of how the best boards write their minutes to accurately and legally reflect what occurred during the board meeting.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • What Does a Board of Advisors Do?

    A board of advisors provides strategic oversight and direction to help a company or nonprofit organization achieve its goals and objectives.

  • Who Should Be on a Board of Advisors?

    As a best practice, is it wise to compose a board of advisors with varying backgrounds and expertise. In this way, the board of advisors will be well-equipped to provide insight and direction regardless of the issue or problem faced.

  • How Do You Make a Board of Advisors?

    Identify the key issues or problems your organization currently faces and construct a board of advisors that understands the industry and your unique problems. Additionally, look for expertise your board may lack.

Ready to upgrade your board’s effectiveness with OnBoard the board intelligence platform? Schedule a demo or request a free trial

About The Author

Josh Palmer
Josh Palmer
Josh Palmer serves as OnBoard's Head of Content. An experienced content creator, his previous roles have spanned numerous industries including B2C and B2B home improvement, healthcare, and software-as-a-service (SaaS). An Indianapolis native and graduate of Indiana University, Palmer currently resides in Fishers, Ind.