Is your Board Completing a Self-Assessment? - A Mission Matters Blog Article from KLR

Mission Matters Blog

Is your Board Completing a Self-Assessment?

posted Jul 26, 2018 by Jamie Hansen, CPA, MSNM in the Mission Matters Blog

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Do you serve on a nonprofit Board? Are your meetings productive, or generally repetitive and stagnant? Perhaps your board meetings focus on reviewing history rather than looking towards the next month or upcoming year. If so, maybe it is time to assess your Board’s performance. 

How often should you conduct a board self-assessment?

A board self-assessment should be completed every two to three years to ensure the Board remains accountable and effective. 

What’s the objective?

Board self-assessments allow board members to not only evaluate their role on the board, but to examine the board as a whole.

The following are some benefits of incorporating a Self-Assessment process:

  • Identify areas that need improvement
  • Determine whether the board members’ contributions are keeping up with the needs of the board and organization
  • Identify issues or areas that need more attention in board meetings
  • Evaluate the diversity and composition of the board
  • Assess the strength and areas of development of each individual board member

Each organization’s board is a little different from the next, so it is important to understand the expectations of the board you are currently serving on.  Once expectations are managed, all board members should participate in the self-assessment process.

The following are sample questions that can be incorporated into a nonprofit Board Self-Assessment:

Organizational Structure:

  • Roles and Responsibilities.  Are all members aware of their roles and responsibilities?  How involved are you with the Organization’s activities?
  • Communication.  How do you communicate with staff members?  Is it appropriate and effective?

Governance:

  • Board Structure.  Are there enough members on the board or are there too many?  Does your Organization have the appropriate number of support committees?
  • Decision Making.  What is the process for decision making?  Does everyone understand the process and is it effective?

Strategic Plan:

  • Mission Statement.  Do all of your members understand and know your mission statement?  Members should evaluate how well they know and understand the mission of the Organization.
  • Goals.  Are all members aware of the Organization’s goals?  Where do you see the Organization in three to five years?  How is the Board helping to ensure the Organization reaches its goals?

Financial:

  • Fundraising.  Are you aware of your responsibilities with respect to fundraising goals? Are you meeting those goals?
  • Financial Decisions.  Are you involved in making financial decisions for the Organization?

After each board member has completed a self-assessment; results should be shared with the full board.  Sharing the results of the assessments will also encourage an honest, constructive conversation about the skills and resources needed to help the Organization reach its strategic and programmatic goals.

Questions? Reach out to me or any member of our Not-for-Profit Services Team.