Before Summer Break, Evaluate!
I can’t believe we’ve made it to the middle of the year! Congratulations! McCord Consulting Group has been busy the first half of the year. Before I take a much needed pause in June, I try to re-evaluate the first six months and make plans for the second half of the year based upon what I accomplished (or fell short of) during the beginning of the year. Similarly, you should do a brief evaluation of your board’s progress in June. Here are three things you should report on during your June meeting.
Check in on the Budget
Most boards only think about the budget when it’s time to approve the yearly budget. However, you should be receiving monthly budget statements to evaluate how your organization is performing based on last year’s statement, year to date, and the previous month. Change up your budget report at your June meeting and really talk about what you’ve spent funds on during the first six months of the year and whether that lines up with the goals you set for yourself. If you’re a board that generates revenue, evaluate whether or not you’ve met your revenue benchmarks for the midway point. If you make decisions about distributions at the end of the year, you can use the June meeting to make loose plans on different options to distribute or keep revenue and what those decisions will mean to your organization. Whether you’re a nonprofit or for-profit board, schedule time within your agenda for your finance director to give a report that is more comprehensive than the report given at the monthly meeting but shorter than the full budget report that is given before the board votes to approve or reject the yearly budget.
President / Executive Director Progress Report
As a board member, it’s extremely frustrating to learn that you didn’t meet sales projections or you didn’t serve as many of the members of your community you intended to serve at the end of the year. “If only we would have known sooner, we could have made adjustments,” you may internally shout when you hear the bad news in December. Your June board meeting is a great time to have your President or Executive Director give a progress report on the goals you set to accomplish at the beginning of the year. Transparency is key. Your board may be aware that your Development Director took another job in March. But, because there should be clear separation between the board and internal personnel decisions, they may not be aware that you have not yet found a replacement Development Director and how the position not being filled will impact your fundraising goals for the year. When your Executive Director and Board President are honest with your Board, members will know that they will need to work extra hard to sell tickets and raise funds at your annual fundraiser. Learning this information a month before your fundraising gala creates undue stress for your Board and your staff. Being upfront about challenges AND successes will make your board feel informed, connected, and able to help when appropriate.
Set Goals for Later
While your board retreat is your formal opportunity to set goals for your organization, use your June board meeting to spur discussion about goals that can be placed in a ‘parking lot’ to further develop during your annual retreat. If you sit on the board of an employee owned company, use your June board meeting to think about new employee committees that can be formed that will drive down costs and increase profits in an area in which you haven’t thought about in a long time. If you sit on a board of a nonprofit, have a discussion about a moonshot idea that can be analyzed and broken into smaller pieces at the annual retreat. As a board, there’s so much to discuss at your annual retreat and there’s not a lot of time for truly innovative, outside the box brainstorming sessions. The June board meeting is a great way for people to think about crazy ideas which can be better distilled and made actionable at your annual retreat.
For more information on board governance and board diversity, follow along on Twitter or Instagram. Nikki McCord is the founder of McCord Consulting Group, the only choice for organizations looking to energize, innovate, and diversify their Board of Directors.