As a supplement to our earlier post, What Issues Should a Nonprofit Board Consider Annually, we have created a calendar of priority agenda items for the board of directors of a hypothetical nonprofit organization, The Futureland Foundation. Generally, priority items should be discussed early in the agenda to best capture the board members’ focus. This calendar is not intended to be an exhaustive list of actions that a nonprofit board should or must take and may not be appropriate for all nonprofits, but rather, it is meant to be a useful tool from which organizations can build their own appropriate calendar of actions.
Assume that the board meets once every two months, the directors elect their successors, and the Futureland Foundation follows a calendar accounting year.
- Executive Performance Review – Begin discussion of the executive’s performance, the method and timing of the executive’s performance review, and any change in the executive’s compensation. Authorize the executive committee to be responsible for completing and delivering the review.
- Financial Review – Review and discuss the past year’s financial reports (pro forma) and how the organization’s financial performance informs the plans for the current year and beyond.
- Generative Topic: “Decide what to decide” – Identify 5 questions the board should ask itself this year.
- Review of Form 990 – Convene and authorize an ad hoc board committee to review the Form 990 (due May 15), and instruct board members on what they should know about the Form. Additional Information: What Board Members Should Know About Reviewing a Form 990.
- Program Review – Review and discuss the organization’s major programs and how the organization’s programmatic performance informs the plans for the current year and beyond.
- Generative Topic: Focus on the board’s performance and areas for improvement.
May (Annual Meeting)
- Elections – Hold elections of directors and officers consistent with applicable provisions in the bylaws.
- Legal Compliance – Evaluate past and potential issues regarding employment practices, internal policy compliance, required licenses and permits, nonprofit and 501(c)(3) compliance, facilities and real property, and intellectual property. Ensure all annual filings have been or will be completed and that the organization’s status with the relevant government authorities are all in good standing.
- Generative Topic: Focus on the organization’s impact in advancing its mission.
- Review Mission – Reflect on the organization’s mission and purpose statements and compare them against its activities, governing documents, and communications.
- Board and Committees – Review the board’s composition; appoint and authorize committees, as necessary; delegate duties; discuss board training/development; determine adequacy of oversight and planning activities. Additional Information: Everything You Wanted to Know About Nonprofits & Committees
- Generative Topic: Focus on the organization’s assets and opportunities.
- Risk Management – Review internal policies, risk areas, and insurance coverage, and take appropriate follow-up action. Additional Information: Top Ten Legal Risks for Nonprofit Boards.
- Fundraising/Networking/Communications – Review board’s role in fundraising and developing key contacts for the organization; review board and organizational communications policies.
- Generative Topic: Focus on the organization’s challenges.
- Budget – Review and approve the budget for the coming year.
- Programmatic Plans – Review and amend, as necessary, the organization’s programmatic plans.
- Generative Topic: Focus on the environment, competition, and opportunities for collaboration.