Conducting an Internal Analysis

PURPOSE & INSTRUCTIONS Gathering input from the organization’s key leaders, such as board members, key staff, volunteers, partners, and others who are in a position to observe the organization will keep you updated as to how the organization is doing and help inform decisions and annual planning. This is especially helpful in times influenced by crises like COVID-19. Ask key stakeholders such as current and…

Evaluating Your Funding Mix Exercise

PURPOSE AND INSTRUCTIONS In light of COVID-19 and the new challenges it presents, many nonprofits are examining their funding sources and having to adjust their plans for the future. By knowing exactly where your funding comes from, you can determine if you have a good mix of income streams or whether you are too dependent on only one or two sources. That way, when decisions…

Toolbox: Emergency Succession Planning

PURPOSE The purpose of this exercise is to raise your board’s awareness of the need to prepare for a sudden departure or unavailability of a key leader. It should also give you a good start in identifying your current leader’s abilities that are critical to the operation of your organization. INSTRUCTIONS This exercise is in two parts. • Part 1 is designed for your board…

Toolbox: Monitoring Your Budget

PURPOSE Once a budget has been adopted, it is important to monitor revenue and expenses throughout the budget cycle to ensure your organization stays within the budget. If revenue or expenses are significantly different than expected, you may need to make adjustments to your budget in mid-year. INSTRUCTIONS Before your board meeting, ask your bookkeeper or treasurer to prepare a Profit & Loss Statement summarizing…

Toolbox: Building Trust with Incoming Leadership

PURPOSE AND INSTRUCTIONS The purpose of this exercise is to help your board transition seamlessly from one leader to the next by building trust. Whether using this activity with an incoming executive director or board president, identifying ways to capitalize on opportunities and culture changes will keep your board and staff on track to meet their strategic objectives. Distribute a copy of this handout (available…

Toolbox: Asking for a Cause We Believe In — Overcoming Our Fears

PURPOSE AND INSTRUCTIONS No matter how many times people ask for money, they’re likely to experience that queasy feeling in the pit of their stomachs – the unwelcome sensation that they’re somehow putting themselves at risk. This simple exercise helps participants address their fears by giving voice to those fears, and shows that others experience those same fears. Distribute a copy of this handout (available…

Toolbox: Effective Meetings

PURPOSE AND INSTRUCTIONS Most board business is done in meetings and effective meetings don’t just happen, they are made. Ensuring your time together is useful, productive and engaging takes focus and intentional facilitation. Make and distribute a copy of the assessment (available as a PDF here) to each board member at your next board meeting. Take 10 minutes and ask the board to thoughtfully answer…

Toolbox: Deciding Which Programs to Evaluate

This exercise can determine which programs you want to evaluate.  PURPOSE This exercise will help you identify your organization’s key program areas and help you to decide which ones you may want to evaluate. INSTRUCTIONS Make a copy of this handout for each board member. Take 10 minutes at your next board meeting and ask each board member to complete it. Use a flip chart…

Toolbox: Are You Ready for Change?

This exercise can spark important discussion about diversity. PURPOSE This exercise allows each individual to assess how the organization plans for and implements change. By the end of the exercise, the Board will identify how the organization typically thinks about change. INSTRUCTIONS Make a copy of this handout for each board member. Have each board member think about how your organization typically plans for and…

Toolbox: Internal Controls

PURPOSE This board exercise will clarify methods used by your organization to process financial transactions. It will identify who currently handles different accounting tasks and indicate if there is adequate segregation of duties.  Strengthening internal accounting controls protects the organization’s financial assets against theft and protects those performing the financial duties against erroneous accusations. INSTRUCTIONS Step One:  Select one person from your board that is…