You may be a member of a board of directors or an executive director. In either position, board governance has to be one of your priorities. It is the process of defining a mission and strategic plan, exercising oversight, ensuring adequate resources and assessing its own performance. Do you know the roles of the board and the executive director in each of these functions?
Strategic planning is an often misused term. Often, an organization requests assistance with a strategic plan without having a basic planning process in place. There are action plans, tactical plans, annual plans and strategic plans. Do you know the difference? Do you understand the process for conducting a needs analysis, environmental scan, stakeholder survey or board assessment?
The typical nominating committee approaches the task with an attitude of "It's time to find some Board members. Let's go out and talk some people into joining." Nominating committees are being replaced with a governance committee, which has a much broader charge. It identifies and nominates candidates, conducts orientation and training, recommends governance structures, and constantly works from a list of potential members. Do you know to identify and screen potential candidates?
One of the mistakes boards make when recruiting new members is "If we tell them they have to raise money, we might scare them off." It is important to be clear on the task and roles of board members and staff if fund development. Should you require a personal contribution? Do you know how to create a case statement for your organization?
Most boards only meet a limited number of times each year. How do you make the best use of board meetings? The routine of "Let's copy the agenda from the last meeting, put in the new date and change a couple of items" is not a best practice. Do you know how to use a consent agenda? How do you transition from meetings filled with reports to meetings with future oriented discussions? When and how should you evaluate board meetings?
If you don't have the answers, we do! Contact Ron Retzke at Retzke & Associates, Inc.Summary of experiences working with nonprofit organizations.