Board Roles and Responsibilities

Whether your board members are new to the job or have been serving for a while it is important (and easy!) to get everyone up to speed and clear on what is expected of them as they steward the organization.

You’ll see better mission delivery and engagement if board members understand what their legal responsibilities are. To get started you should:

    1. Download a PDF or order A Guide To Nonprofit Board Service in Oregon. It’s put out through the Office of the Attorney General and free – so everyone can have a copy!
    2. Build Board Notebooks that include tabs for bylaws, policies, minutes and financials.
    3. Build into the agenda at every board meeting a “3 minutes of board stewardship” where board members can report what activities or efforts they have made on behalf of the organization during the month – public speaking, fundraising, event involvement, etc.

CNS has a fun and interactive training we can do at a board meeting that will get your board excited about their service! Call or email today to schedule us at your next board meeting!

Understanding Financial Statements and Using Them for Good Business Decisions

Yes, you are a business and you need to make money so you can move your mission forward. Not everyone feels comfortable analyzing the financial statements, yet the financial statement is a critical piece of information and financial stewardship is part of the board’s governance role. You need to know what events make money, what office expenses cost, and how staff is going to get paid. Here are two ways to kick-off getting your financial house in order:

  1. Have your accountant or bookkeeper attend a meeting to explain your financial Excel spreadsheet or QuickBooks Report.
  2. If your information is not getting entered properly, hire an outside accountant to set your spreadsheet up or put together your QuickBooks statement and train your treasurer or bookkeeper to make regular and consistent entries into the new program. That way, you may only need to hire an outside professional once or twice a year to keep you up to date and file your taxes.

We have financial experts who can help your group understand the basics of financial statements. Call or email today to schedule a board training.

Helpful Resource: Questions For a Financial Statement of Activities

How Boards Make Good Decisions

What goes into a robust and thoughtful decision? Really great boards talk about the hard stuff and come out on top with well considered decisions that positively impact the direction for the organization.

If you have a tough decision to make, the following steps can help ensure a sound decision is made.

  1. Gather the executive team and ask the question – why this issue and why now? The answers will help the executive team decide how to phrase the issue in the agenda, and what kind of time it might take to make a decision.
  2. Prepare to set ground rules before the discussion begins, so people don’t get personal or head down rabbit holes that have nothing to do with the discussion.
  3. Give people as much information as you can ahead of time. Decisions are easier if people have background information.
  4. Tell people at the start of the discussion what the process will look like for making a decision; for example “We have a decision to make about a new event we want to try this year. Let’s lay out the pros and cons, see if there are questions that may need more study, but if not, let’s end with a yes or no vote as a final decision.”

If you need a board training on meeting management and building agreements about board decisions, let our meeting experts show you several ways to build consensus. Call today to schedule your training.

Helpful Resource: Polling for Consensus

Building a Board Orientation Program

Your new board members need to be ready to roll when their first board meeting starts. When are meetings? What do I bring? Do I have to fundraise? All questions are answered and expectations discussed before their first real board meeting. Get your new members on track with this example of a board orientation agenda that you can customize just for you.

If you have a group of board members starting at the same time, it might be helpful to have one of our staff come in and conduct a board orientation and roles and responsibilities training to get everyone on the same page at the same time!

Helpful Resource: Orientation Checklist for New Board Members

Creating a Comprehensive Funding Plan

Events, sponsorships, grants and donations can all be part of an annual fundraising plan. For an organization without development staff, it is important for board members to be involved in the planning and implementation of the plan. Everyone needs to see the big picture and how it breaks down into individual components.

Here are three things you can do to get your board ready for fundraising planning:

  1. Take ten minutes at a board meeting and have your board members fill out a self-assessment on the activities they might like to do help raise money.
  2. Sit down with your financial person, and decide where the gaps are in your budget, and decide how much you really need to raise in the coming year.
  3. Analyze a current fundraising effort you are doing, like a fun-run or raffle, and, after adding in staff and volunteer time, decide if it is really making any money.

If you need help developing an annual funding plan, call us today for expert help in building the funding plan, and getting the buy-in you need from board members!

Helpful Resource: Steps for a Fundraising Action Plan