Sample Board Operations Calendar

© Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Also see Carter's Board Blog (for for-profits and nonprofits).

The following calendar can be reviewed by an organization to modify according to their own nature and needs. The following calendar should be updated yearly and provided to each board member and the chief executive.

NOTE #1: There are certain one-time activities that the board should conduct during the startup of the organization. See the list Startup Activities List at the end of this document.

NOTE #2: There are also certain activities that recur in each regular board meeting. Regular board meetings might be held once a month, every two months, once every three months, etc. To get a sense for the activities that occur in these meetings, see Sample Meeting Agenda and Sample Meeting Minutes.

NOTE #3: The timing for each of the following activities should be relative to the timing of the beginning of the fiscal year. In the following sample table, the fiscal year begins January 1.

Regular Board Activity Approximate Date (see NOTE #3 above)
1. Fiscal year begins January (fiscal-year timing is often specified in the Bylaws)
2. Conduct Board Self-Evaluation (do once a year and in preparation for first board retreat (there are 2 per year)) March-April (do shortly before evaluating chief executive)
3. Evaluate Chief Executive (by referencing his or her progress towards last fiscal year's goals and his or her job description) April-May (do shortly after completion of last fiscal year)
4. Review and update board policies and personnel policies April-June (do concurrent to board and chief evaluations)
5. Conduct first board retreat (address board self-evaluation results, team building, begin strategic planning, etc.) April
6. Begin recruiting new board members April-May (in time for June/July elections)
7. Conduct strategic planning to produce organizational goals and resources need to reach goals May-June-July (start planning in time for setting mission, vision, values, issues, goals, strategies, resource needs, funding needs (nonprofit-specific), and time for getting funds before beginning of next fiscal year)
8. Elect new board members June-July (per By-Laws)
9. Establish chief executive's goals for next year (as produced from strategic planning) August (as organizational goals are realized from planning)
10. Hold annual meeting July (per By-Laws)
11. Draft next year's budget (based on resources needed to reach new strategic goals) July-August-September
12. Develop fundraising plan(nonprofit-specific) (with primary goals to get funds needed for budget) July-August-September
13. Conduct second board retreat (address board orientation/training, re-organize or form new committees based on goals from strategic plan, develop work plans, update board operations calendar, review planning status, etc.) August (in time to orient new board members soon after they join the board)
14. Conduct fundraising plan(nonprofit-specific) (primarily to meet fundraising goals) August-December


Startup Activities List (to start the organization)

When forming a new corporation or association (these are the types of organizations that usually have boards of directors), the board typically has several specific activities they must conduct, including meeting to:
1. Approve the mission statement (may include vision and values statements, as well)
2. Approve Articles of Incorporation (or whatever charter document is required in your state)
3. Approve Bylaws (these are not always required in every state; you should strongly consider having them anyway)
4. Select officers in the board (usually including the president or chair, vice president or vice chair, secretary and treasurer)
5. Approve (probably very rough drafts of the) strategic plan and yearly budget

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