Involve Your Nonprofit Board in the Strategic Planning Effort - dummies

Involve Your Nonprofit Board in the Strategic Planning Effort

By Erica Olsen

Your organization’s governing or policy board plays an important part in your strategic planning efforts. The degree of influence boards have varies from nonprofit to government organizations. But in some form or fashion, these appointed or elected members are responsible for defining the organization’s purpose and mission, articulating the strategic priorities for the planning year, and monitoring the execution of the plan.

The elected or volunteer governance aspect of both nonprofits and government entities adds another layer to the planning process. Clarifying their role helps leverage the board’s expertise as well as streamline a process that can get unwieldy. So what are the roles of the policy board, board of directors, board of county commissioners, the city council, and so on?

Effective policy board members should do the following:

  • Focus their attention on their policy-making role and stay out of the day-to-day.

  • Establish a clear set of priorities for the organization.

  • Hold the staff accountable for achieving the established priorities through regular meetings and tying budget requests to the strategic plan.

  • Listen and acknowledge staff recommendations regarding the execution of the plan.

  • Concentrate their resources on being more effective at policy making.