A Board’s Developmental Responsibilities

Bob Cryer

Bob Cryer


Last month’s blog outlined a board’s strategic responsibilities. This blog will address their developmental responsibilities.

A nonprofit’s strategic plan typically identifies the measurable goals that the nonprofit’s staff is expected to achieve in the coming year, and the strategies that they will deploy in order to achieve those goal. The Board participates in developing these goals and strategies, but it is the Executive Director and their staff that is primarily accountable for achieving them, and the fiscal objectives defined by the nonprofit’s budget.

This leaves the question “What are the nonprofit board members going to do to help their nonprofit grow and do more of their good work in our community?”

Just as the nonprofit staff should have a strategic plan for growing the nonprofit, their board members should have their plans for what they are going to do to help their nonprofit develop. These development plans generally include board member commitments in two areas:

Outreach: What is each board member going to do in the coming year to make more people aware of the good work that their nonprofit does, and get more people involved in the work of the nonprofit’s committees and their events?

Fundraising: Is each Board member willing to make this nonprofit one of their top three charitable donations? What is each board member planning to do in the coming year to grow the major donor base of the nonprofit and/or increase the giving level of the existing donor base?

A nonprofit’s board chair and its development director should agree on a process for involving all the board members in creating the board’s annual development plan, and how they will follow-up on the progress made during the year.

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