Nonprofit agenda management at its core is a game changer. It helps you to run efficient, effective and productive meetings. Building the right agenda is a tool in your toolbox to building the kind of Nonprofit you want to be.
Through your agenda you are communicating priorities, boundaries and setting the stage for your board members to be in relationship with one another in a safe setting. The flow of your agenda can help you to deliver the same vision and message that you want throughout your organization.
Nonprofit Agenda Management: The Power of the Board Agenda
- The way you set up your agenda helps to set the stage for how your decisions flow. Are you going to put your hard decisions first or last? Do the topics flow well into one another? Have you given all the important players a chance to speak on topics that are important to them? All of these factors help you to figure out strategies to structure your agenda well.
- When you set up your agenda, you want the pacing and structure to ensure best practices in decision making in terms of laying out your rules, keeping and approving the previous minutes, electing officers, engagement in governance, running the day to day Nonprofit, all so that you can have a successful yet not achingly long meeting. This all serves to enhance the collaboration between your board, staff and volunteers and smooths the communication both within and beyond your organization.
The challenges of meetings are when they are long, combative, one sided or ineffective. No one wants to sit in a meeting that could have been an email. Your agenda is the perfect tool to drive the conversation to be mission minded, timely and well balanced.
Key Elements of Effective Nonprofit Agenda Management
There are so many ways to manage a good Agenda. Here are just a few to start…
Tips for Managing an Agenda include:
- Start with a Consent Agenda: All reports should be turned in and read prior to the meeting, any pro-forma or items that do not seem controversial can be part of a consent agenda—they can always be removed for discussion as needed. This tool can help the meeting move along.
- Write the Agenda with a Goal: What is the objective of this meeting? Be clear and concise so that it is easier to stay on topic. Be prepared to table other discussions for committee meetings or a different board meeting. Do the goals on the agenda align with the Nonprofit’s long term mission? Be sure the agenda fits with the greater Strategic Planning Vision of the Nonprofit organization.
- Be prepared or Return to Sender: If something is not ready, be prepared to send it back for more research, even if it feels urgent. Be ready to have tools for engagement when things get tense.
- Add Timestamps: In addition to having an order of the day, which is a topic that you are mandated to get to by a certain time, you can also have suggested timetables for how long each discussion should last. Timestamps for when things should be addressed can be a great tool to keep people on track.
- Include diverse perspectives: Prepare to hear all sides of any issue, and have a group dynamic that is ready to have a consensus building attitude, try to invite those who have not spoken up to speak, be inclusive of those who differ from one another. Remind each other that everyone will still be a part of your board for the next topic of discussion, so it is important to show cordiality even when opinions differ.
Tools and Technologies for Nonprofit Agenda Management
There are a number of technological tools for agendas such as Fellow, Evernote, Google Notes and more. These tools are user friendly and provide easy software for everyone to look at the agenda, quick changes, and minutes that can be distributed right after the meeting.
Using technology can help to build stronger collaboration within your team, and make communication easier. At its best, technology also makes everything more transparent. Additionally, many of these tools also provide enhanced security and data management features so that you can collate your information.
Nonprofit Agenda Management Solutions: How We Can Help
If you are struggling with your agenda, we can coach you with strategies that are personalized to your Nonprofit. In a world where business is just one part of what is getting done, and service and mission are a big part of the agenda, finding balance between it all can feel overwhelming.
- Customized agenda templates and personalized support for your particular Nonprofit’s needs for meetings
- Guidance and Support for moderation, tense moments, and the planning you need for big transitions
- Support for writing manuals, reporting minutes, and all those tools that help for better governance providing the best practices of meeting together
- Strategies for you and for your entire board to build you up as a team to make your meetings goal oriented and time effective.
Now that you know the power of your Agenda, go forth and make the most of it.
About Capital CFO+
Capital CFO+ LLC is based in Saratoga Springs, New York, providing bookkeeping, accounting, and CFO services. Capital CFO+ helps small firms access the economies of scale, efficiency, and expertise that large companies enjoy. Visit Pearl, our branch manager at capitalcfollc.com, or LinkedIn for more information.