Question: My board wants to be involved in the day-to-day decisions of the organization. How do I help them to understand their role?

Answer: It is common in the voluntary sector for boards to want to involve themselves in day-to-day issues, especially with smaller organizations and those in the early stages of development. However, there are risks associated with this approach, especially if it goes on for too long. If the board is focusing on operational or even tactical issues, chances are they will “miss the forest for the trees”. Remember, it is the board’s primary role to govern. To do so effectively, they must stay focused on the ‘bigger picture’. Secondly, it’s the responsibility of the executive director/CEO to manage the day-to-day operation. If the board is involved at this level, it will be increasingly difficult for the staff to do their work effectively.

Strategic (3 – 5 years) 50,000 feet Board of Directors
Tactical (Current fiscal year) 10,000 feet Executive Director
Operational (Today) 1,000 feet Staff