WNCC Board Development Report

The following report is from Executive Service Board working with the Winnetka-Northfield Chamber of Commerce on Board Development.

The deliverables for this project were:

1.Roles and Responsibilities of the Board defined.

2. Board structural issues addressed and recommendations made.

3. Board member composition reviewed and recommendations made.

4. Internal operation of the Board and Board – Staff relations reviewed and recommendations made.

WNCC held a retreat on April 1, 2017 and three work groups were formed: Board Structure and Orientation, Planning, and Finance. Another work group: membership was formed. Much progress has been made with subsequent meetings, but more work needs to be completed.

Notable points are as follows:

  1. The retreat and selected issues were based upon “The Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards” which was created by BoardSource.
  2. The Board Structure group developed an organizational chart with suggested completion by fall of 2018. Also, when completed, thorough and market based, Job Descriptions will enable and facilitate accountability and follow-up. If this organization is developed, WNCC will have gone a long way to achieving excellence in Board related work. It is also recommended that meeting agendas be published at least three (3 ) days before the meeting, that committee report outs be standing agenda items, and that stewardship and accountability be incorporated into the meetings.
  3. Board committees need to be formed ASAP and become active.
  4. Once a Board membership number is reached and the new organizational structure is fully implemented, possible by-laws modification needs to occur.
  5. Completion of the implementation grids needs to progress. Integration of responsibilities and completion dates, across committees needs to be finalized.
  6. Planning/Finance/Membership integration needs to continue. A good start has been made.
  7. Events: all must be tested for strategic benefit, and must be critically reviewed for value to the Chamber. Allocating staff time across the various events will provide a more accurate evaluation of the various events. Eliminate those that do not align with the mission, and strategic intent.

Also, recent success of the Music festival demonstrates the need for professionalism in running events with knowledgeable and passionate leaders. Replicate this with other events. The proposed focus groups from the Membership committee, may uncover new, different, member relevant, events. Changes, innovation, is always more interesting exciting than replication, copying.

  1. Membership: Define and promote value by being a member of the Chamber. Provide value and test $ membership fee.
  2. Finance: Continue Board understanding of the financials, and foster transparency, and sustainability in the reports at the meetings.
  3. Planning: As stated before test all events for strategic alignment and cost/benefit.

Progress has been made, but implementation MUST continue if the enhancements are to be made permanent. From ESC’s experience, implementation is difficult, especially with the busy schedules of board members. Implementation might warrant further discussion with ESC.