Put the "Commit" Back in "Committee"
Whether you are a junior member or chairman, every role on a board is crucial to moving the mission forward. Each individual has, or should have, defined responsibilities that advance investment goals and increase opportunities.
On April 27, Charley Meyer, with Plancorp, and Jen Vacha, tax principal with Brown Smith Wallace, addressed the fiduciary perspective of not-for-profit investing at the Brown Smith Wallace NPO Speaker Series, "Mind the Mission." During this event, Meyer and Vacha provided some guidelines for running and maintaining your board while advancing your mission.
- Restate the mission. People join boards and volunteer their time because they believe in the idea or cause. You want a board that is enthusiastic about the mission, and will therefore strive to make it better. Remind your board or committee why they initially got involved with your specific organization and make sure that mindset is present in every decision made.
- Keep your mission up to date. It's difficult to encourage your committee to maintain the mission when your mission statement hasn't been updated since the board was created. Make it a board responsibility to ensure the mission statement remains relevant with your organization's goals.
- Use all your resources, including your IPS. First of all, make sure you have an investment policy statement, or IPS. This should be up to date, reviewed recently and followed, and not just in a drawer somewhere.
- Document everything. Documentation allows for consistency. Up-to-date documents benefit not only your accountant, but also make board member turnover more uniform.
- Stay in line with your strategic plan. The direction your organization is taking may change, and it's important that your strategic plan reflects those adjustments. Monitor board members and evaluate their contributions, and don't be afraid to change out as necessary.
- Finally, define what is expected. This area is two-fold. First you should define what is expected financially. Designate someone to review investment policies and understand where your funds are now, so you can have a better idea of where they need to go. Secondly, keep track of your board members' involvement. This can be issued as a report card, including information on meetings attended, funds raised, etc. Since this involves financial information, it should come from the executive director. This will give you and your members an idea of what is expected from them and how their performance is being received.
Don't be afraid to make updates and changes to your board to ensure your mission's success, and don't forget to sign up for our next NPO Speaker Series event on 8.31.16, "Circumvent the Storm."
For more information on not-for-profit organizations or to request our Board Member Responsibility Checklist, please fill out the adjacent form or contact Janet Ramey at 314.687.2398 or firstname.lastname@example.org.