The Carver Policy Governance Model suggests agencies think about who the moral owners of an organization really are. In for-profit organizations, the owners are most often the shareholders. In not-for-profit organizations we tend to think about funders, clients, founders, or employees as moral owners, but we seldom think about volunteers.
When you consider the attributes of moral owners in this model (people who care about the agency beyond their own or their family’s use of it, who are true believers in the mission and vision, and who constitute the pool from which future board members will be drawn), it is clear that volunteers are key moral owners. This year, when thinking about the strategic plan, ask volunteers about what projects and objectives will serve the mission best. Chances are you will get useful and thoughtful insights from some of the people who care the most.