Rose Report: Issue 56

Nonprofit Board Meetings That Run Without a Hitch

Image of people at a board meeting

By Ted Rose, CEO, Rose Financial Solutions

A nonprofit’s board of directors serves as its governing body and provides high-level strategy, oversight, and accountability to ensure your organization achieves its mission. As fiduciary overseers of a nonprofit, board members serve as the trustees of the organization’s assets and are responsible for guaranteeing that the nonprofit is operating effectively and that its financial standing is stable. As such, states frequently require nonprofits to hold at least one board meeting annually, while most organizations have meetings more regularly, such as monthly or quarterly.

A board package should be sent to each member in advance of each board meeting. The board package should include a Treasurer’s Report and a high-level summary of the company’s most recent financial data. Revenue, program expenses, budget to actual, a year-end forecast based on the current results, and surplus or deficit changes are a few of the crucial figures you’ll want to include.

Keep in mind to be concise and pertinent when creating board packages. If you give your board members too much information, they can become distracted by unimportant issues; if you give them too little, they won’t receive a clear picture of how your organization is doing financially. If your board requires full financials, these statements should be provided in an appendix to the package. This will ensure that board members that are interested in these details will have access, while keeping the focus of discussion on the Treasurer’s Report which should adequately summarize the highlights.

Every three to five years, a board should create a strategic plan that articulates the long-term goals and vision for the organization. A strategic plan can help an organization focus more on advancing its goal and vision while also assisting the nonprofit in assessing its progress, areas of strength, and areas in need of improvement.

When creating a strategic plan, it’s essential to tie each objective back to the organization’s finances. For example, if your goal is to increase your staff by hiring ten new employees, you need to provide a cost estimate: How much will that cost? A quarterly board meeting is an excellent time to evaluate your progress toward meeting each goal. Discuss what happened last quarter, what you plan to do next quarter and any changes in the schedule. It is imperative that the board updates and, if necessary, tweaks the long-term strategic plan every year.

Don’t get too involved in tactical processes during board meetings—leave logistical steps to subcommittees and management. For instance, the finance committee should decide how to prepare the budget. The board’s role is to understand how the funding impacts the organization’s strategic plan. The board should always adopt a forward-looking perspective and focus on the big picture.


Please schedule a virtual meeting to learn how RFS can help your nonprofit meet its financial goals.

This content is for information purposes only and should not be considered legal, accounting or tax advice, or a substitute for obtaining such advice specific to your business.