Organizational Structure

Mission and Strategy-Board Governance for Charitable Nonprofit Organizations


Amy Kriz, CPA

American Petroleum Institute (API)

The board governance plays a crucial role in shaping and guiding the mission and strategy of a non-profit organization. Board members bear responsibility for providing oversight, setting strategic direction, and ensuring that the organization’s mission is effectively pursued.

The board is responsible for developing and refining the mission so that it reflects the organization’s core purpose, values, and desired impact. More specifically, the board has a key role in drafting the organization's mission statement that defines its fundamental purpose and reason to exist. This mission statement serves as part of the support mechanism for assessing how the organizational goals have been met and it defines the overall boundaries for course of action. Additionally, the board should regularly review its organization’s mission for relevancy and alignment with the evolving needs of the community for the beneficiaries served.

Next, through regular strategic planning - and adopting a board philosophy of continuous strategic thinking - the board prepares itself and the staff for the future. Organizational strategic framework provides a valid reference for annual operational plans that keep the organization on the right track and tied to the mission while incorporating necessary flexibility for action.

What to do:

  • Draft a mission statement
  • Define organizational values
  • Conduct strategic planning every 3-5 years
  • Draft annual operational plans (staff)
  • Review and update/revise documents periodically - at least every two years

Additional references:

• Strategic Planning in Nonprofits
• Nonprofit Strategy and Planning