A Board’s Strategic Responsibilities

Bob Cryer

Bob Cryer


Last month’s blog discussed a board’s fiscal responsibilities. This blog addresses their strategic responsibilities.

A nonprofit’s budget for the coming year is a reflection of the trends in their annual expenses and revenues, plus any strategies they have for making the future look different from those projections.

These agreed upon strategies are typically the result of an annual strategic planning meeting of the board and the nonprofit’s management team. The process typically begins with a review of the nonprofit’s mission and vision and the management team’s presentation of the results achieved this year compared to last year and the results expected from implementing the strategies agreed to last year. This might logically lead to a discussion of why things worked better or worse than expected, what the nonprofit should keep doing, and what it might stop doing.

Next the participants might share their knowledge of external trends that might be a strategic opportunity for the nonprofit to fulfill more of its mission, or a threat to its mission. These might be trends in what donors, foundations, business sponsors and government agencies are willing to support; trends in the effectiveness of various traditional and emerging fundraising methods; trends in the needs of the people the nonprofit is trying to serve and their reaction to the support that your nonprofit is providing, and trends in the morale and interest of the nonprofit’s employees.

The meeting participants then need to identify, from all the opportunities and threats discussed, which three to five are the most important to address. A strategy for addressing each selected issue needs to be developed along with the measurable result expected in each area, and who will lead the effort to implement each new strategy. This then becomes the strategic plan for the nonprofit, and its costs and benefits are built into the nonprofit’s budget for the coming year.

If your nonprofit would like help in planning and facilitating a strategic planning meeting with your board, please Email us at BoardFacilitation@ECofOC.org.

Next month’s blog will discuss a board’s developmental responsibilities.

Author:  Bob Cryer, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org