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Nonprofit Governance, Strategy, & Communication Services

Get more information about our services, submit a request for proposal, or get in touch with a BKD Trusted Advisor™.

Nonprofits are at the forefront of addressing complex areas of need. BKD’s team of nonprofit advisors has the industry experience and expertise to help your organization stay goal-focused and effective in accomplishing your mission and vision.


Board Governance Services

You want board members with the knowledge and passion to guide your organization. You want members who are well informed and well connected, have a strong business mind, and can help move you to the next level. That’s why we have knowledgeable advisors who can help your organization’s board understand:

  • Fiduciary responsibilities
  • Policies & procedures
  • Committees & board meetings
  • Public awareness & fundraising
  • Board & staff relations

Strategy & Vision Services

You want stakeholders—from internal staff and board to the broader community—to understand your organization’s purpose. You also want buy-in and participation by demonstrating your effectiveness with measurable outcomes. That’s why we have knowledgeable advisors who can help your organization’s board understand:

  • Mission/vision/beliefs development or review
  • Internal & external situational analysis
  • Competitive analysis/advantage
  • Key strategies & priorities
  • Measurable goals & indicators of success

Message Communication & Outreach Services

You want clear, consistent communication that informs the public about your important work. You also want your message to reach the right people, creating high awareness about your cause. That’s why we have knowledgeable advisors who can help your organization:

  • Develop a message platform
  • Identify target audiences & competitors
  • Become a trusted source of content
  • Form a yearlong, in-depth communication plan


Governance & Management

Regardless of an organization’s size or type, all board members—new and seasoned—need a clear understanding of the basic roles and responsibilities of serving on a nonprofit board. A lack of understanding can be catastrophic for an organization. Each interactive session will help board members, executive directors/CEOs, and staff leadership understand how to engage at the highest level, the importance of engagement, and the differences between governance and management.

Board Roles & Responsibilities

Regardless of the size or type of the organization, all board membersbrand new and seasonedneed to have a clear understanding of the basic roles and responsibilities of serving on a nonprofit board. Without proper training, board members are unlikely to fulfill their important roles, which can have a devastating impact on the organization and the people needing their help. This session will help executive directors and board members to better understand their respective roles and responsibilities, strengthen the board's ability to provide adequate resources for the organization, and become more engaged in helping the organization to fulfill its mission. Session Topics: Governance, policies, legal, fiduciary, meetings, self-evaluation, recruitment, committees, etc.

(Time: 2.5 hours maximum, 1.25 hours minimum)

Impact Assessment: Managing to Outcomes

Can you clearly state measurable outcomes your organization wants to achieve? Do you systematically collect and use information to guide your decisions? Many nonprofits are weak in the area of data collection and outcomes due to various factors including insufficient staff and lack of knowledge. This training covers the importance of and steps to start establishing and evaluating the programs and services of your organization.

(Time: 1.25 hours maximum, 45-minute minimum)

Maintaining Healthy Board & Staff Relations

Nonprofit boards and staff members work alongside each other to accomplish the important work of the organization. But there are fine lines that must be understood and respected, especially when dealing with grievances. This session covers key practices to help keep staff and board on track, avoiding a potentially toxic culture.

(Time: 1.25 hours maximum, 45 minutes minimum)

Volunteer Risk Management — Are You Protected?

Volunteers are critical to most nonprofits. Their donation of time and expertise helps organizations reach their missions on limited budgets. Every volunteer program, from the smallest to the largest, should take steps to identify risk factors. This session introduces possible risks and explains actions programs can take to manage and mitigate potential harm to their important work.

(Time: 1.5 hours maximum, 45 minutes minimum)

Strategy & Planning

One of a board’s principal roles is to develop an aspirational and achievable strategic plan. All stakeholders—internal and external—need a clear path forward that explains purposes and steps. This “big picture” road map is an important document that can be used as a guide in decision making and policy formation. An updated plan is critical to the long-term success of nonprofit organizations. The board has a responsibility to ensure the plan remains fresh and relevant to the people it serves.

Strategic Planning Essentials

Strong, healthy organizations operate from a road map, one with a clear vision and strategy. This training will lead participants through a series of exercises that help develop the best plan for your organization. The session includes activities that develop your mission/vision/values statements, SWOT analysis, competitive advantage, and define key priorities, measurable goals, and strategies.

(Time: 1.25 hours maximum, 1 hour minimum)

Communication & Outreach

One of the most common issues nonprofits face is delivering a clear and compelling message. Effective communication is key to explaining the organization’s purpose and motivating others to be part of its work. People don’t give time or money to organizations they’ve never heard of and don’t understand. Board members and leaders must be able to clearly articulate their organization’s purpose and their value proposition (why their work is important and worthy of support). Our training can help your team gain the tools it needs to deliver a powerful message that can move others to action.

Clarifying Your Message

What words do you use when talking about your organization? Every organization needs a succinct, clear message that is used consistently by all members of your group. The training will help you shape your message and explore how to identify your target audience and competitors. Includes formation and practice of tagline, elevator speech, and key messages.

(Time: 2 hours maximum, 1.5 hours minimum)

Developing a Communication Strategy

The best communication is intentional not random. Your organization's message is too important to leave to chance, so you need a strategy. In this session, you'll learn how to formulate a yearlong communication plan that incorporates traditional and social media, public speaking, media, community events, etc.

(Time: 1 hour maximum, 45 minutes minimum)

Leadership Communication

The absence of clear communication creates confusion and frustration, which leads to inefficiency, strained relationships, and missed opportunities. This fun session covers three main aspects of leadership communication: 1. People Functions – Workstyles/motivations, meetings, and information sharing, 2. Organization Functions – Establishing clear goals/purpose, competitive analysis, 3. Community Functions – Collaborations and accountability.

(Time: 1.5 hours maximum, 1 hour minimum)

Own Your Message: Media Management

The popularity of social media has caused many leaders to forget about the power of traditional media. Even with shifting demographics, a story about your organization on the evening news or in the newspaper has the potential to attract new volunteers, donors, and partners, and can elevate awareness of your cause. In this session, you'll learn from a nonprofit leader and former TV reporter: How to form media partnerships that result in positive coverage, how to become a trusted content expert, how to conduct on-air interviews, and the basics of managing your message.

(Time: 1.5 hours maximum, 1 hour minimum)

Resource Development

Fundraising is key to delivering on your organization's mission. BKD can help your team gain the tools it needs to understand what moves donors to action, the board's role in fundraising, and ethics to keep your organization honest and accountable.

The Psychology of Fundraising

Why do donors give (or stop giving)? This insightful session explores basic principles that can help you better understand what motivates people to give. Session topics: Donor motives, giving trends, generational preferences, how to recruit and retain loyal donors, etc.

(Time: 1.5 hours maximum, 1 hour minimum)

Role of the Board in Fundraising

Fundraising is a major responsibility of most nonprofit board members. Yet most boards have little to no training and, as a result, often fail in this role. This training provides insights into the various ways organizations can educate, equip, and empower board members to provide leadership and support for their work.

(Time: 1 hour maximum, 45 minutes minimum)

Ethics of Fundraising

Explains the role of ethics in soliciting support for nonprofit work. Includes examples of unethical approaches, case studies, and basic steps to keep your organization honest and accountable.

(Time: 1 hour maximum, 45 minutes minimum)

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