10 Tips for Running an Effective Strategy Session with Your Non-Profit Board
As a non-profit organization, having a clear strategy is crucial to achieving your mission and goals. A board strategy session is an excellent opportunity to bring your board members together to assess the organization’s progress, identify challenges and opportunities, and set the course for the future. Here are some tips on how to run an effective strategy session with your non-profit board.
Set clear goals and objectives
Before the strategy session, set clear goals and objectives that align with the organization’s mission and vision. It’s essential to define the session’s objectives and communicate them with your board members to ensure everyone is on the same page. Some goals could be identifying new funding opportunities, assessing the current financial situation, or developing a plan for launching new programs.
Choose the right venue
The venue for the strategy session is critical. You want a location conducive to open and honest discussion, with enough space for everyone to participate. You could choose a neutral site, like a conference center or hotel, or use your office space. Regardless of where you hold the session, ensure it’s accessible and comfortable for everyone.
Prepare an agenda
Prepare an agenda that outlines the topics to be discussed during the session. A clear agenda helps keep the meeting on track and covers all essential topics. Share the agenda with your board members in advance to allow them to prepare their thoughts and questions. Allocate time for each topic to avoid rushing through them.
Assign a facilitator
It’s crucial to have a facilitator for the strategy session, someone who will keep the discussion on track and ensure that all participants have a chance to speak. The facilitator should be an independent third party separate from the organization’s management team. This ensures that the facilitator is impartial and can help the board members focus on the session’s objectives.
Encourage active participation from all board members. Everyone should be able to contribute to the discussion and share their thoughts and ideas. Encourage board members to speak freely and openly without fear of criticism or judgment. Creating a safe space where everyone can contribute and collaborate is essential.
Running a strategy session can be intense and draining, so schedule regular breaks. This allows board members to recharge and refocus, which can help them contribute more effectively during the session. You could plan to have coffee breaks or lunch breaks to provide a relaxed atmosphere for socializing and networking.
Evaluate the outcomes
After the strategy session, it’s crucial to evaluate the outcomes and assess the effectiveness of the meeting. Evaluate whether the goals and objectives were achieved and what lessons can be learned from the session. This evaluation can help you improve future strategy sessions and ensure that the organization’s goals are met effectively.
Develop an action plan
After the strategy session, develop an action plan outlining the next steps to achieve the organization’s goals. Assign responsibilities to board members and set deadlines for achieving the objectives. Additionally, ensure that the action plan aligns with the organization’s budget and resources.
Communicate the outcomes
It’s important to communicate the outcomes of the strategy session with the rest of the organization. Share the key decisions and actions taken during the meeting with staff, volunteers, and other stakeholders. This helps create transparency and alignment within the organization, ensuring everyone is working towards the same objectives.
After the strategy session, follow up with board members to ensure that the action plan is implemented effectively—schedule follow-up meetings to assess progress and make any necessary adjustments. Additionally, evaluate the effectiveness of the strategy session and use the lessons learned to improve future sessions.
In conclusion, a well-run strategy session with your non-profit board is critical to achieving your organization’s goals and mission. By setting clear objectives, choosing the right venue, preparing an agenda, assigning a facilitator, encouraging participation, taking breaks, evaluating outcomes, developing an action plan, communicating the outcomes, and following up, you can ensure that your strategy session is productive and impactful. By working collaboratively with your board members and following these best practices, your non-profit organization can develop a strong, effective strategy that will drive success and impact for years to come.
Have additional questions regarding your non-profit organization? Our team at Part Time CFO Services is happy to talk with you.
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