You’re working hard to support your board and manage their work. You prepare for meetings. You teach them how to fundraise. You encourage their strategic discussions. You know their kids.
And how do you know if it’s working? Is your board effective? Do they feel engaged in the right ways?
If you follow best practices, you complete a board survey every year. You capture their perspectives on their experience and get a sense of their satisfaction.
And you want to gather facts too. Not just opinions.
The Boardable Nonprofit Board Engagement Survey report states that “Board engagement is the single most important health measure of a nonprofit board of directors and directly impacts the organization’s effectiveness and resilience.”
Phew. Kind of a big deal.
Here are 10 ways to measure how excellent your board is:
1. Board has a high retention rate. Your board members finish their terms. And renew. Highly satisfied board members don’t
leave until they have to. Look at retention now and set a goal for next year.
2. Board members are nominating board members. They care about the team and want only the best folks on it. They see
the selection process as a privilege to serve and will go out of their way to source open positions.
3. Board members know, like and trust each other. Board members focus on culture – how to work together. Not just the
tasks at hand. Organizational values are important and they support each other while also holding each other accountable.
4. Board members are lining up to take leadership roles. There is a bench of leaders ready to succeed. They want to be
coached and experience new responsibility. Leadership development is a priority.
5. Board members look forward to meetings and are prepared. They know they can contribute to strategic discussions and
stay focused on priorities. No boring reports are on the agenda and they are efficient and productive.
6. Board members achieve committee goals. Each committee has their charter and work plan. Everyone’s voice matters and
assignments are completed between meetings.
7. Board members do an oversight audit. They understand the duties of care, loyalty and obedience. Policies and bylaws
are reviewed regularly and they invest in scenario planning. A governance dashboard is presented annually so the whole board feels
comfortable with their legal and fiduciary responsibilities.
8. Board members use the strategic plan to direct their work at all levels. Whether it’s a board meeting, a task force, a volunteer orientation or committee meeting, the organizational priorities are front and center. The plan is also monitored and progress is reported back to the board.
9. Board members celebrate staff. The strong partnership is evident and all are respected and valued. Roles are clear
and effectively applied. Staff leaders attend board meetings to be a resource and support their own professional development.
10. Board members passionately advocate for the organization. Members meet with elected officials on policy issues.
They also serve as ambassadors to engage the community for support, public relations and promotion of services.
I’d love to hear how else you measure board performance! It might be interesting to compare this list to your written board expectations.
And if this is all new to you, start with where you are now. Identify what you want to measure first, then set specific goals. Determine how much growth is needed and be realistic.
As always, I’m here to help you. Just give me a call.
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