One of the biggest challenges nonprofit Executive Directors report is having effective boards. Effective boards don’t just happen, they are developed and supported by effective Executive Directors. The Executive Director leads the board from behind ensuring the board is prepared to fulfill the it’s role in governing the organization. Here are 5 key responsibilities of ED.
- Build a strong partnership with the board chair. Keep the chair informed of any issues. There should be no surprises between these two partners.
- See that officers and board members are oriented and trained. Spell out expectations, provide background on roles, structure of the organization, mission, programs, fund raising, finances, strategic plan, successes and challenges etc.
- Prepare for board meetings. Develop an annual strategic agenda calendar for board meetings. Draft the board agenda and discuss with board chair, prepare background materials for actions that the board is being requested to take, distribute packet to board members one week before the meeting. Consider having a web page for board members with bylaws, board minutes, board calendar, meeting materials etc.
- Ensure the organization has a strategic plan. Annual plans, budgets, and staff performance plans all flow from the strategic plan. Present a dashboard at each board meeting that shows the board where you are in achieving the targets in the strategic plan.
- Ensure there is a performance management process for the ED. The criteria for the review as well as the process and time line should be spelled out at the beginning of the fiscal year. Compensation and an annual raise should be tied to the performance review process.
While the ED may not be the individual who completes all of these tasks, it is important that the ED ensures that these tasks are accomplished. Leading from behind ensures an effective governing board.
Author: Karen Haren, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org