As much as I harp on the need for nonprofits to have their boards engage with elements of the strategic plan, it should be no surprise that many fundraisers ask me what they should do if no strategic plan is in place.
Obviously, my first answer is always to implore them to engage in creating a strategic plan. There are certain elements a nonprofit organization can operate without. However, a strategic plan is not one of those!
Knowing that not every organization can create a strategic plan overnight, and that some of them would like a way to lead a similar strategic responsibility discussion at an upcoming board meeting, here are some strategic areas to discuss in the mean time.
Each of the following should allow every board member to remain interested and to realize just how important both the nonprofit staff and the board are. In most cases, the responsibility is clear-cut and few fall under the jurisdiction of both parties.
They are in no particular order and can be changed around for your discussion purposes.
- Determine the Mission of the Organization
- Modify the Mission of the Organization
- Promote the Organization to the Outside World
- Selecting and Hiring the CEO
- Evaluating the CEO
- Creation of a Leadership Succession Plan
- Creating a Strategic Plan
- Updating the Strategic Plan
- Reporting on the Progress of the Strategic Plan
- Creating a Budget
- Approving the Budget
- Reporting on the Progress of the Budget Throughout the Year
- Conducting the Annual Review of the CFO and COO
- Selecting and Hiring the Top Fundraiser
- Plan Special Events
- Attend Special Events
- Sign Off on Outside Auditors Report
- Create the Content of the 990 Filing
- Sign the 990 Filing
- Recruit Volunteers
- Create Key Operational Metrics to Track
- Report on Key Operational Metrics
- Determine HR Policies
- Creation of a Fundraising Plan
- Reporting on the Fundraising Plan’s Progress
- Recruit Donors and Sponsors
- Donor and Sponsor Retention
- Personally Contribute Monies
- Create Government Relations Policy
- Report on Government Relations
- Creation of a Disaster Communication Plan
- Creation of a Marketing/Communications Plan
- Reporting on the Progress of the Marketing/Communications Plan
The above 33 items or questions are certainly not exhaustive. However, they should provide an excellent place to begin a nonprofit strategic board discussion.
For each item, be sure to discuss if it is the responsibility of the Board or the Staff or Both.
What others can you think of? Please let me know if these suggestions sparked a great board meeting for your organization in the comments below.
Should you find any of the items listed above missing from your organization we urge you to consider the Sustainability Scorecard recently introduced by Bloomerang. Utilizing it on a regular basis will help provide ideas for the above items and more importantly many of the vital underlying details and metrics to use.