Clarity about purpose and strategy

The trustee board or non profit board is responsible for ensuring that the charity or non profit is clear about why it exists and how it will bring about its goals. It needs to ensure that the organisation is indeed making progress towards its goals. Charity trustees have a legal duty to ensure that their activities further the charity’s  purpose. It is therefore essential that every board member understands the purpose of the organisation. A board can help to provide clarity of purpose in the following ways: vision and missionvaluesstrategyassessing impact Vision and mission A vision statement sets out the ideal state your charity or non profit is seeking. A mission statement sets out the role your organisation will play to achieve the vision. The board ensures that the organisation is clear about its vision and mission and that all its activities contribute ultimately to their achievement.  Values Your board provides  leadership in the values it embodies and the culture it fosters. These will in turn be reflected in the way that staff and volunteers work. The non profit or charity board may wish to make the organisation’s values explicit. See for example the co-operative movement’s values and principles. Strategy A strategy sets out how the organisation will move from where it is now to a desired point in the future. A well considered strategy is essential to your non-profit or charity’s effectiveness. Of course the board won’t determine the strategy on its own, it will seek the view of all those who have a stake in the organisation. If you have staff they may do a lot of the work in identifying strategic options, but the final responsibility lies with the trustees. Read more about this in our Strategy section. Impact An important role of every board is to ensure that the organisation is achieving its aims. Board members need to be confident that the organisation’s activities are really making a  difference to the lives of those they are intended to benefit. Board members can assist by ensuring they agree appropriate targets, and ways of regularly tracking and assessing progress. It’s important to focus on the outcomes for your users rather than simply the size or scale of your activities. You need to look beyond efficiency to effectiveness. Learn more in our Improving performance section. Further reading Hallmarks of an effective Charity, published by the Charity Commission

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