Traits of a Good Council Member

Duties and Responsibilities of a Council Member

  1. A belief that he/she can make a difference working with others as part of the Council.
  2. Has a genuine concern for the quality of life of all residents of Western Maryland.
  3. Willingness to actively participate in the RC&D program.
  4. Serves on a minimum of one standing committee or as a member of the Executive Board.
  5. Strives for 100% attendance at Council meetings and is an active participant at RC&D meetings and functions.
  6. Can put aside their personal concerns for their own particular community to think and act for the overall good of the entire Western Maryland Region.
  7. Is willing to seek other qualified individuals to become Council members to ensure achievement of our mission and goals.
  8. Has a good understanding of the RC&D program and shows visible support for the RC&D in the community.
  9. Willingness to develop and utilize personal leadership skills to promote and share the RC&D program and projects throughout the Western Maryland area.
  10. Has a positive “can do” attitude!


Develop, adopt, and operate by articles of incorporation and by-laws.

Set policy to govern board activities, board/staff relations, and program delivery.

Meet all requirements of a tax exempt business organization, including keeping minutes as legal record and maintaining financial records and responsibilities.

Establish criteria for adopting, canceling, and reporting the completion of RC&D projects.  Project adoption emphasis should be given to issues of regional significance and consistent with area plan.

Ensure fund accountability in all aspects of program planning and delivery.

Conduct effective meetings to maintain relations, credibility.

Conduct member and council evaluations periodically to ensure quality and effectiveness.

Be aware of restrictions on lobbying as a nonprofit corporation.  Check for additional state restrictions for nonprofits.

Understand council member liability and potential insurance needs.

Say “thank you” for technical and financial assistance provided by individuals, organizations, etc.

Ensure all legal requirements are met in program planning and service delivery to meet federal equal opportunity, affirmative employment, and civil rights requirements.



Provide opportunities for public input into RC&D program development.

Carry out an effective information and education program that communicates the Council mission, goals, objectives, and project activities to project partners, sponsors, NRCS, and the public.

Establish an awards program that recognizes outstanding contributions to the RC&D Program effort by individuals, organizations, and projects (as a minimum)  (i.e. share credit).

Serve as a catalyst to bring diverse groups together to work toward common goals.

Work toward the development of excellent working relations and communication with all members of the RC&D team and technical and financial assistance sources.

Support and participate in state, regional, and national RC&D meetings and functions maintaining an awareness of the functions, support provided, and needs of each.



Coordinate and share planning activities and planning organization with similar goals and service areas to keep them informed and reduce potential turf issues.

Develop an Area Plan and Annual Plan and maintain program direction working toward stated goals and objectives.

Provide opportunities for the public to participate in Council planning activities to include the setting of goals and objectives.

Request the technical and financial assistance of others (public and private) to help accomplish goals and objectives.

Provide input opportunities by all cultures and minority groups living in the RC&D area.


Capacity Building

Understand, develop, and empower individuals, networks, coalitions, and partnerships and utilize to accomplish Area Plan goals and objectives.

Develop a fundraising program that ensures council sustainability.

Identify capabilities (knowledge, skills, contacts, etc.) of council members for use in furthering the RC&D program effort.

Sponsor orientation RC&D training and additional training as needed to ensure understanding of the RC&D program by all partners.

Develop a recruitment prospectus that outlines Council vision, mission, goals, objectives, skill needs, etc., to aid in recruitment of highly qualified volunteer leaders.

Become or maintain nonprofit corporation status as recognized by the Internal Revenue Service to enhance program and project funding opportunities.

Maintain databases of contacts, special events, memberships, and mailing lists.

Maintain a historical record of Council successes and activities.