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Four Benefits of Engaging Your Board in Strategic Planning

BY: Maya KageyamaON: 05.25.2023

Nonprofit board dynamics can often be tricky, with tension sometimes bubbling up related to differences in communication, work styles, or opinion. At Third Plateau, we work with an array of social impact organizations on strategic planning and have found that engaging the board in your strategic planning efforts can strengthen and develop your board, providing opportunities to align on priorities and deepen relationships that can relieve these tensions. Here are four benefits of engaging your board in the strategic planning process.

  1. Build alignment within and between board and staff. By design, board and staff members bring diverse experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds to your organization. While this is a strength, it can also lead to an organizational identity crisis or the feeling of being pulled in many directions at the same time. Strategic planning offers an intentional space for board and staff to slow down, listen to each other, and build alignment around a shared vision and organizational direction. Ensuring board and staff are all rowing in the same direction can help strengthen future communication, collaboration, cohesion, and effective decision-making.
  2. Deepen and reaffirm board engagement and commitment. Strategic planning offers the opportunity to reaffirm the organization’s purpose and reground board members in why they got involved in your work in the first place. In the process of building a strategic road map, you’ll create the space for board members to recommit to your shared goals and uncover opportunities for board members to step up to champion your mission.
  3. Increase board member fluency and capacity for stewardship. In the process of strategic planning, your board members will deepen their understanding of your work, programs, and key constituents. Their hands-on engagement to help shape the vision and strategic direction will increase their confidence and comfort in talking about your organization’s purpose and impact. They’ll have opportunities to immediately apply their increased fluency and storytelling skills as they champion, steward, and represent your organization out in the community.
  4. Strengthen capacity for effective governance. After playing an active role in the planning process, board members should be supportive of, excited by, and familiar with your final strategic plan. With a deepened understanding of the organization’s purpose, mission, and current challenges, board members will emerge more knowledgeable, confident, and capable of governing the organization. They’ll be prepared to effectively monitor the execution of the strategic plan, provide financial oversight and accountability, and manage risks as they arise, all in service of advancing your mission and maximizing your impact over the long term.

Understanding the benefits or the "why" of engaging your board in strategic planning is the first step. Let's now explore the "how". Our free download below will walk you through five different ways to engage your board in your next strategic planning process.

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