Keeping your Charity on the Right Track: Is Your Board Effective?

With the Not for Profit sector dealing with continued challenges from numerous directions, never has governance been of more importance. Along with our Charity & Not for Profit colleagues across our national association MHA, we have created a month by month plan that can help you improve your organisation’s governance in a stepped and measured way. The guide has been put together to offer guidance and support to Finance teams, Trustees and the Senior Management teams in Not for Profit organisations.

Download the guide Keeping your Charity on the Right Track and join us on a 12-month governance journey:

  • First, answer the ‘Where are you now?’ column of the ‘Month to Month Checklist’ in section 12 to assess how you are working now.
  • Each month we will be taking you through the plan, focusing on one section at a time. Once you have read a section, fill in the ‘Where do you want to be and how will you get there?’ part of the checklist.
  • At the end of the year, reflect on whether you achieved your goals or not by filling in the final ‘Did you achieve it?’ column of the checklist. Once you have reassessed yourself, you can create an action plan for the following 12 months.

Month 1: Are we an effective Board?

All charity boards must, first and foremost, ensure that they are discharging their legal responsibilities if they are to be considered an effective board. These responsibilities are:

  • To act in the interests of the charity and put the interests of the charity first
  • To ensure the charity acts in accordance with its governing document and in a manner which is consistent with its purposes
  • To act with due care and diligence
  • To ensure compliance with legislation

With these responsibilities always in mind, a board will demonstrate good governance if it works to exercise control and deliver the organisation’s purpose. To do this the members of the board must fully understand their role; this includes not just what they should be involved in, but also what boundaries exist and when they should allow delegated management space to run the organisation.

Checklist for the month:

  • Ensure you have the right mix of skills on the board and that you work effectively as a team – undertake a board skills audit
  • Develop a strategy to ensure delivery of your charity’s objectives and compliance with the governing document – does your organisation have a detailed strategy document?
  • Monitor policies and exercise effective control – consider how you are doing this and if necessary, introduce a formal procedure for monitoring e.g. audit effectiveness of the board
  • Be a sounding board and source of advice for the Chief Executive – consider implementing board 360º appraisal processes to gauge the success of the relationships
  • Do not interfere – respect the role of staff and let management manage – test yourself on this, if you are a board member are you a critical friend or an interfering presence for the Senior Management Team, is the balance correct?
Read month 1


Make sure to also look out for our next edition in February when we will be focusing on the finance function and reporting to the board!

If you have any questions on this month’s topic or would like to find out how we can help please get in touch on 01903 234094.