nonprofit board policy/strategy development vs. managing operations

Difference: Nonprofit Board Policy/Strategy Development vs. Managing Operations

Difference: Nonprofit Board Policy/Strategy Development vs. Managing Operations

By: Eugene Fram

Following is how I view the difference between the nonprofit board functions versus operations management functions. Based upon my governance model (see bottom of page), all of the responsibilities listed below are board functions. <!–more–>

A. DIRECTS MANAGEMENT
1. Establishes, in partnership with management, long-term organizational objectives
2. Sets overall policies affecting strategies designed to achieve objectives.
3. Employs the CEO.

B. JUDGES MANAGEMENT ACTIONS
1. Evaluates short-term and long-term management performance.
2. Determines whether policies/strategies are being carried out and goals achieved.

C. APPROVES MANAGEMENT ACTIONS
1. Critically reviews, approves, or disapproves proposals in policy areas (for example, major capital needs or expenditures and major contacts)
2. Provides formal recognition and acceptance of executive decisions when related to operational concerns.

D. ADVISES MANAGEMENT
1.Acts in an advisory consultative capacity, when sought by management.

E. RECEIVES INFORMATION FROM MANAGEMENT
1. Regularly receives reports on the organization (e.g., performance, program development, external factors, other challenges or concerns).

F. ACTS AS A PUBLIC AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS RESOURCE FOR MANAGEMENT.
1. Keeps the organization attuned to the external environment in which it operates.

G. FUNDRAISING PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN BOARD & CEO

1. CEO & staff act as “scouts” for fundraising opportunities.  Board members act as the “cavalry” to team with management,  to make generative proposals, to make formal proposals and to make needed interpersonal contacts.

For more detail on how this fits into my policy/strategy model, see: “Policy vs. Paper Clips,” Third Edition, (2011). Available on

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