The fall is fast approaching, and now is the time to start working on your board calendar for next year. If you aren’t familiar with a yearly board calendar, think of it as a way to get more productivity out of your board and to help advance the goals of your association.
Consider this: if your board meets monthly for two hours each time, then at best, you have 24 hours of your boards’ collective attention. An annual board will help you maximize the time you have together by focusing on what’s important, not just what’s urgent. Planning a year in advance helps get your meetings on everyone’s calendar, reducing the dreaded “ok, who can meet next month on…No, how about…”
In addition to getting your meetings nailed down, it gives your board members a heads up on what’s important, and when it needs to be discussed, or better yet, acted on. Sure, things will come up out of the blue that needs to be addressed, but with an annual calendar that everyone agrees on, you now have a plan to tackle the things required to help drive the organization forward.
So what should go into a board calendar? Let’s start with something everyone does, meetings!
Board meetings. Pick out the times and dates for the full year.
Annual meeting. When you elect new officers, select committee chairs, etc..
Membership meeting. If you have one and it’s not part of your annual meeting.
The conference, if you have one. You don’t have to select the date necessarily, but you can specify the date by which the conference date is set.
Other special but regular meetings, such as an annual board retreat.
If you have (or want to have) standing committees that meet regularly, add them on the calendar as well.
Next, add the due dates for certain activities.
When will you approve next year’s budget?
If you have to file a Form 990, when is that due?
When will your activities plan for the following year be complete?
When will you plan the following year’s board calendar
Next year’s operational plan, i.e., what do you want to get done next year, and how will you do it? (don’t have one of those? Now is a great time to start, and this calendar can serve as the foundation of your planning!)
Board member appreciation! Don’t forget that. Board members are the heart of your organization, and they need to know they matter!
Board development. Too often this is overlooked. The hard reality is few association board members understand what it means to run a nonprofit board. This is your chance to help improve your board’s operations and potentially keep it out of trouble.
Strategic planning. Your strategic plan should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure you are doing the things to achieve your goals. Don’t have a strategic plan, then that’s something that should be on your board calendar for next year!
If you start planning for the activities above, you might think, “oh my, that’s a lot to do!” Well, yes, it is. But the idea is to “plan.” You can always change the plan and adjust to current realities. However, when you see that” this month, we have on the calendar to make a decision about board development,“ it helps focus your board meetings so you don’t wind up spending two hours debating the conference lunch menu! Need a visual example of what a calendar can look like? Check out this Excel spreadsheet for an example. Feel free to use or adjust as you need.
Want more info or guidance about setting up your annual board calendar? Email me for a free consultation.