How Are You Doing?

There is a significant difference between the nonprofit board’s job and the staff’s job. The staff is responsible for this year. The board is responsible for the future.

How well is your board doing its job?

Your strategic plan is the road map to the future (5 or more years). (The tactical plan is a list of all of the milestones between now and the future. The operational plan is everything that must be done this year.)

If the board wants to know how well your nonprofit is doing it should ask:

Do we have goals that are at least 5 years into the future?

What progress have we made (have we achieved the appropriate tactical milestones)?

What proof do we have (are there meaningful and measureable ways to determine if a goal or milestone has been reached)?

The preceding assumes that the goals, milestones, and proof are mission and client focused.

If the three preceding questions were used to evaluate how successfully the board is carrying out its responsibilities, would your board be proud? If so, you have a valuable fundraising tool.

When your board is doing a great job, it means your staff is doing a great job (achieving the year-to-year goals enables the milestones, which actualizes the long-term goals, which defines board success). It also provides the evidence needed to convince donors to increase their support. In short, everyone wins and sustainability is enhanced.

Next Step:

Encourage your Board Development Committee to evaluate board performance semi-annually using the preceding three questions

Ask your Board Development Committee to develop a plan to enhance board performance

Share with your donors the results of your board evaluation and your plan for improvement

Regardless of the level of greatness of the results of the performance assessment, sharing them with the donors will have several benefits:

Your transparency will encourage donors to be more generous

Your plan to improve board performance will increase donor confidence and by extension increase generosity

Your transparency will create a level of accountability that will be a model for your staff, enhance your nonprofit’s reputation, and establish your nonprofit as unique in the donors’ minds

Demonstrate your nonprofit’s and your board’s commitment to excellence and the success of your mission and clients

Assure everyone (donors, volunteers, staff, and the community) that next year is going to be even better

Can you think of anything that would be more beneficial to your nonprofit?

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