Key Points

  • Governance is more than just focussing on compliance and risks. It is also necessary to set in place plans for the future direction of the organisation and to monitor how the activities and resources are contributing to those goals
  • Organisations can unintentionally get ‘off track’ and having plans in place that are regularly explored can help the board/committee assess whether they’re ‘on track’ and/or whether adjusting the plan is needed to cater for changing circumstances

Governance is a lot about managing and mitigating risk (including financial risks) and monitoring the organisation’s activities to ensure compliance with internal and external rules and regulatory requirements.  However, that’s not all there is to it. Good governance also helps the Board stay on track to delivering its real purpose. To do this Boards will have some type of plan – often called a strategic plan – that sets out where the organisation is heading into the future, the goals it can reasonably meet, and the strategies to get there. Sometimes organisations unintentionally get off track (you might hear this called “mission creep”). Having strategic plans in place against which to measure your performance will help you keep an eye on this.

Once that is in place, the organisation normally develops annual business or operational plans outlining what inputs and activities are needed to deliver the Plan in the coming year. The Budget can then be developed to support that Plan.  For strategic planning purposes, it is best to concentrate on the top three or four major issues and do not get lost in operational details.

Once the main goals are set, the plan provides a guiding focus for the organisation to work towards and monitor how it is tracking against its Plan and Budget. It also provides the basis for the annual reporting that is provided to members.

Top Tip

The Board or Committee should look at the Plan regularly – not just in preparation for the Annual General Meeting.

Want more? ... check out these resources

Webpage - Institute of Community Directors - 5 minutes read


This webpage is a useful run down of what a strategic plan is and gets you started with a process for creating your own strategic plan.

Webpage - Institute of Community Directors - 5 minutes read


This webpage explains the difference between a strategic plan and a business plan, and outlines the main sections in a business plan for an organisation.

Policy Document - Institute of Community Directors - 5 minutes read


This Policy Document sets out the process for compiling, monitoring and reviewing an organisation]’s annual Budget.

Chapter - - 10 minutes read


Go directly to the chapter called  “Are we doing the right things” starting on page 43 of this great booklet for information about strategic planning. It even includes a sample two-page strategic plan summary.

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