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How many times do we say that we want our board of directors meetings to run more efficiently? Poorly run board meetings are the number one reason why there is a lack of focus around strategic issues. A dashboard can help immensely in keeping the focus of the meeting on barriers preventing the organization from moving forward rather than wading through report after report.

As organizations seek performance excellence, they look to organizations for performance improvements such as the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and performance techniques and tools such as Six Sigma.  Both Baldrige as an organization and Six Sigma as a tool, recommend performance scorecards and dashboards to track, measure and monitor performance looking forward.  Here are some key things (metrics) to track for your organization:  

Monitor Your Goals – If you have a strategic plan, monitoring your key goals and their corresponding strategies is important. The dashboard can be very helpful in visually delineating strategies in progress, strategies completed and strategies that are not progressing. By utilizing a stoplight approach and color coding each strategy green, yellow or red, it will help your organization tremendously in keeping the focus on the red items, or strategies that are not progressing. More detail on this is provided via a free toolkit, which can be found here: http://bit.ly/1Bag1Cn

Monitor Your Key Membership Indicators – Key indicators in membership are important to measure and help you effectively understand the impact your implemented strategies are having on the organization’s growth in members. Consistent items on your dashboard should be membership growth, market share, and membership retention rates

Monitor Your Education Indicators  – Understand the reach and value of your education (online and live) by measuring Website hits, individual education offerings’ return on investment (ROI), the sales of products and publications and overall program profitability. Measuring these will help you better understand what your members and prospects value most about your organization’s offerings and what may need to be repurposed or eliminated

Monitor Your Volunteer Satisfaction and Effectiveness  – Volunteers are the lifeblood and workforce of nonprofit organizations. Without them, a vast majority of nonprofits would not exist. Measuring the overall satisfaction of volunteers, via survey results, in your dashboard is very important. Increasing satisfaction year-over-year should be the target goal

Monitor Your Financial Indicators  – Understanding the long-term viability of the organization is part of the fiduciary responsibility of a board of directors. Measure your effectiveness through good budget comparatives, operating ratios and cash flow snapshots. 

There are three important reasons to put in place dashboards:

1. It keeps staff on track and focused on the strategic priorities set by the board of directors

2. It provides volunteer leaders with an easy way to view what is in progress and what is an issue very quickly through an easy to read dashboard

3. It provides the board with a tool to be nimble and quickly make decisions to address issues and take advantage of opportunities

The dashboard can be very effective management decision-making tool if it is easy to read, short and to the point with a good visual representation of where the organization is at any point in time.  Make your meetings more successful by implementing a dashboard in your organization today!