Jitasa Nonprofit Blog

Achieving Successful Interactions with Your Board Members - Part 2

Part 2 of a 2 part series. (Read Part 1)

Providing this information in advance will allow you and your board to make the most of your meeting time. You can also make the most of your presentation by keeping the following tips in mind while you are preparing and presenting to your board:

Plan your approach: Prior to your board meeting, plan in detail what you would like to discuss and focus on the goals you wish to achieve. Writing an outline or story board can help with this difficult task, keep in mind while doing so that context is important. Remember your audience and their backgrounds, and use this information to formulate a PowerPoint that addresses your outline/story board.

Stick with simplicity: Avoid overwhelming your board members with every scenario you’ve encountered during the last quarter. Your PowerPoint presentation should address the requested reports and their findings, and any information that you think members will find relevant. PowerPoint slides should contain one idea or message per slide. Rather than forcing your board to scramble to read a complex slides, keep slides concise and clear. This will allow your board to focus on your words, and your message.

Discuss executive summary in detail: Do spend time discussing your executive summary as it provides the clearest picture of your nonprofit’s financial health.

Be aware of aesthetics: In addition to maintaining one idea/message per slide, keep in mind that your board will not want to be overwhelmed by numbers. Instead of copying entire spreadsheets into your PowerPoint slides, use summary charts and graphs to tell your financial story. Illustrate key performance metrics and ratios with trends and benchmarks, and put the detailed financials in an appendix.

Simplify and educate: Nonprofit accounting is drastically different from for-profit accounting, keep this in mind when addressing your board. If you know that your board consists of predominately for-profit individuals, be prepared to educate or translate nonprofit concepts as you go. For example, a statement of financial position would be a balance sheet in the for-profit world.

Prepare and relax: Don’t worry about remembering the do’s and don’ts of public speaking, instead, focus on preparing an interesting story with talking points. This will allow you to have a conversation with your board about where you see your nonprofit in the future, and the information that supports those feelings.

If you’re still feeling nervous, or would like more information on presenting to your board, we recommend these great resources:

Presenting to win, by Jerry Weissman
Say it with charts, by Gene Zelany
The leader’s guide to storytelling, by Stephen Denning

Renata Poe Massie, Content Writer, Jitasa

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