What Items Should a Nonprofit Board Review Annually?

On an annual basis, there are a number of issues involving governance and management that a nonprofit’s board of directors should review.  Among the areas that boards will want to review include corporate formalities, financial oversight, programs and planning, and legal compliance.

10 Areas That The Board Of Directors Should Consider Examining On A Yearly Basis:

Elections.  Are there any officer or directors positions that must be elected?  The board should review the bylaws to ensure that elections are being held.

Budget. A budget is an important planning tool that encompasses an organization’s programs, mission, and strategic plan.

Policies.  Are all the necessary policies in place?  Have policies been updated as appropriate?

Executive’s Performance.  The board is charged with reviewing the executive’s performance and generally should provide the executive with some form of annual performance review. 

Form 990.  The board, or at least an authorized committee of the board, should review the Form 990 before submission to the Internal Revenue Service.

Board.  The board should review its own composition and performance and determine its recruitment, training/development, meeting, oversight and planning strategies.

Risk Management.  The board should identify and assess risk areas and review the adequacy of the organization’s insurance coverage.

Mission.  The board should review the organization’s mission against the activities it conducted over the year.  Generally, the board must approve any changes to an organization’s mission.  The board should consider any need to amend the organization’s articles and bylaws when a mission changes or shifts.  The Internal Revenue Service should also be notified of any change.

Programs.  The board should receive a program update from the organization’s staff regarding the past year.  The board will want to make sure that programs are on target, and make adjustments as necessary.

Committees.  The board should review its committee structures and performance of each committee.  It should selectively appoint committee members, ensure proper delegation to and oversight of the committees, and shed unused or ineffective committees.

Meeting a board member’s legal or fiduciary responsibility is a much greater task than simply staying out of trouble.  It’s about protecting, overseeing, and directing the organization with reasonable care towards its mission.

Contact us if you have questions regarding your organization's governance and management and visit the Our Thoughts On blog for more articles pertaining to the not-for-profit industry.

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