Get Your Board to Think Strategically!

Larry Tucker

Author: Larry Tucker

Executive Coaches of Orange County

As I was looking back at Jan Masaoka’s very good blog ( on the executive director’s responsibility for a successful board, I started thinking about the many boards I’ve worked with over the last few years.

The discussion in the blog and the related comments are a reminder that many nonprofit boards need to be changed or changed out to be successful. That’s a difficult and complex issue that many EDs and boards have wrestled with over the years and I might take a shot at that topic in a coming blog.

But the blog also reminded me that many boards just seem to be running in place with no intent to consider a longer term, strategic perspective. As with any flash tai java pohjaisena versiona, jolloin koneelle ei tarvitse ladata erillista kasino – ohjelmistoa. organization, this leads to stagnation, but can also result in a misalignment between the organization’s mission and the needs of the community.

Many boards use an annual off-site strategic planning meeting to step back and consider the broader issues that drive their organizations, and I’d suggest that this is a good model to follow.   

Usually the simple process of establishing an off-site meeting for a half or full day with a strategic agenda will in itself prompt some very good discussions. But some deep thinking and thorough planning can create an experience that board members will want to repeat annually. The list of topics for these sessions is endless:

  • Reevaluating the organization’s vision and mission
  • Creating a five-year plan
  • Brainstorming on fundraising approaches
  • Factors within the community that are affecting your clients and your organization
  • Tearing apart the budgeting process
  • Matching the organization’s daily activities with its vision and mission

Get the board involved in these discussions so they individually feel that they have a stake in the success of the organization. I’ve had a lot of success breaking out the board members (with some staff) into two or three working groups for each topic, ensuring that all board members have a chance to comment and ask questions. Consider other activities in the session that will enhance participation.

This is also a good opportunity to get board members to commit to certain activities to help the organization….donor searches, fund raising, board member recruiting, for example.

Good leadership demands that we periodically take ourselves out of the daily rituals of running an organization, step back and consider if our organization is on the right track.