Establishing a Governance Infrastructure for an Entirely New Organization

Strategic planning

What our client needed

Our client was originally created as a working group of a large American medical specialty association. After its creation, the association continued to expand rapidly. Biobanking was developing as an internationally respected process and the Society was the only global forum addressing scientific, technical, legal and ethical issues relevant to repositories of biological and environmental specimens. The association grew quickly to a large society with over 900 members internationally and over 600 delegates at its annual meeting. This extensive growth compelled the Board of Directors to transition away from the national medical association “host” and to redefine itself as a standalone entity with its own management and governance. Malachite was hired to provide full association management.

As an entirely new organization, the Society had no formal governance systems in place to ensure that the organization could focus on its mission-driven activities, use resources effectively, and/or ensure appropriate management for stakeholders. Further, they did not have non-profit registration, putting it at significant risk for financial and regulatory complications. These governance deficiencies posed a risk in regards to reputation, fundraising eligibility andthe  ability to meet organizational objectives. The Society needed a complete governance infrastructure that included a strategic plan (including mission and vision), non-profit registration, bylaws and a policy/procedures handbook.

What we created

The Board of Directors needed a strategy to ensure that the organization was built on a solid foundation of good governance and strategic planning.

Malachite recommended the Society apply for a designation as 501(c)(3) non-profit status in the United States and include a submission of the appropriate bylaws and policies/procedures associated with this registration. Further, Malachite suggested that that the Society develop a formal, organization-wide strategic plan to ensure that the Board of Directors had a clear organizational strategy to follow for the future. The new strategic plan would allow them to carefully evaluate its current status, review its mission and vision, and determine what the strategic goals and objectives are for the future. Specifically, they needed to define its governance infrastructure in order to build a platform for future organizational success.

Malachite scheduled and conducted a two-day Board of Directors strategic planning session in person. The major goals of the strategic planning session were to:

  • Obtain buy-in and ownership of the future of the association by the Board of Directors.
  • Update the mission and vision.
  • Confirm ultimate goals.
  • Ensure financial sustainability via the evaluation of current initiatives and identification of future opportunities.

The Board of Directors, with the assistance of Malachite developed a three-year strategic plan and work plan that clearly defined the Society’s new mission, vision and strategic directions and goals.

Lastly, Malachite engaged the Governance Committee and Board of Directors in the process of drafting, compiling, reviewing and approving a new Policy and Procedures Handbook. This Policy and Procedures Handbook addressed topics such as conflict of interest, confidentiality, Board code of conduct, and financial audit. These policies ensured that the leadership agreed not only on the roles and responsibilities of the organization and its leaders, but also on the various mechanisms by which the organization would operate.

How it worked

The Society built a sustainable governance infrastructure that allowed the Board of Directors to concentrate on what is truly important (the organizational objectives defined by its mission) and created a platform for long-term organizational success.