What Are the Duties of an Honorary Chair?

Close-up of meeting table during chair meeting.
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An honorary chair is a chairperson in name only. The position comes with none of the duties and responsibilities of an actual chairperson. That's not to say that an honorary chair has no value. To the contrary, nonprofit organizations implementing a fund-raising campaign, in particular, can benefit greatly by choosing the right person for the position. Effective honorary chairpersons lend credibility to your organization, help promote your event with the general public and often solicit donations from the "movers and shakers" within their circle of acquaintances.

1 Find a Good Fit

Honorary chairs are often local dignitaries or celebrities who lend their name for the purpose of elevating your organization’s profile among potential supporters and partners. Some attend meetings and participate in discussions on matters of importance to the organization. Nearly all will speak on behalf of your organization and network with potential business partners and community leaders to augment your fund raising campaign. Finding an honorary chair that fits well with your organization and its objectives is important in establishing credibility. Furthermore, those who have a history with your organization and its cause will often set the tone for a fund-raising effort by making generous donations of their own.

Mike Gonyea served as an account manager and strategic planner at a Detroit advertising agency for 20 years. He has covered automotive finance, state and local government and interfaith issues for publications and websites including “The Detroit News,” American Thinker and A Common Word.