Why board members should embrace strategic planning

Most members of nonprofit boards know that their organization needs a strategic plan—a plan that is current and truly guides the work. However, knowing that a plan is needed and actually engaging in the planning process are two different things. Volunteer board members can usually find a number of reasons to avoid embarking on strategic planning, but we think the following are compelling reasons for moving ahead:

  1. Gain a shared understanding of the organization’s priorities and what role you can play in moving the work forward.
  2. Engage in the right discussions and the right work at the right level—you can expect meaningful work to come out of the planning process.
  3. Be able to articulate where the organization is heading and how it plans to get there—maybe you’ll finally get that “elevator speech” you’ve wanted!
  4. Bring focus to your board meetings. The strategic planning process will generate important questions with which your board will need to grapple.
  5. Get the board on the same page regarding direction and priorities, and build the board’s sense of teamwork along the way.
  6. The plan can be used to guide and increase the effectiveness of your committee structure, board recruitment, budget development, and even the evaluation process for your president or CEO.
  7. A chance to tackle some of those nagging, “elephant in the room” issues that never seem to get addressed. This will be the moment to discuss them and make decisions.
  8. If you structure the process to seek their input, this can be a great opportunity to hear from clients, donors, staff and other stakeholders—input that boards need but are challenged to collect under normal circumstances.

You’ll find lots of other strategic planning advice in the blog section of our website: www.starboardleadership.com, or get in touch now to begin a conversation with a member of our consulting team.