Board Evaluation

© Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC.

Vast majority of content in this topic applies to for-profits and nonprofits. This book also covers this topic.
Developing, Operating and Restoring Your Nonprofit Board - Book Cover

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In addition to the articles on this current page, also see the following blogs that have posts related to this topic. Scan down the blog's page to see various posts. Also see the section "Recent Blog Posts" in the sidebar of the blog or click on "next" near the bottom of a post in the blog. The blog also links to numerous free related resources.

Library's Boards of Directors Blog
Library's Nonprofit Capacity Building Blog

Evaluating the Board and Members

One of the most powerful practices for Board members is to evaluate the quality of their Board operations. Many times, Board members do not know what they do not know about their own Board. For example, they might be terribly ineffective because they all have fallen into a rut in their operations -- and they have not even realized it. Or, they might have gotten side-tracked into attending to certain urgent matters (for example, the latest crisis reported by the Chief Executive Officer), and are ignoring very important matters (for example, strategic planning that would have avoided those crises altogether).

Board members who claim that they do not need evaluation and Board training are like obese people who claim that they do not need advice about eating because, after all, they are already experts at eating. Experienced and highly effective Board members have learned that it's critical to regularly conduct short, practical evaluations of the quality of their Board operations and then to attend to the results of those evaluations during the year. Evaluations need not take a long time -- many times, even 15 minutes a year from each Board member to complete a short questionnaire, followed by half an hour to discuss results, can be transformational for a Board.

Here are a variety of free Board self-evaluation tools. Aim to select a tool that asks at least as much about the actual occurrence of activities on your Board as about how members feel about the Board. It's good practice to have a small team of Board members review and select the best tool. It's often best if each Board member completes a tool on his/her own, rather than together in a group. Also, the best time to do a Board evaluation is now. Don't wait until new members have learned more about the Board -- that's like waiting until you feel fine before seeing the doctor. Keep in mind that Board members of nonprofits are volunteers and their time is often very limited, so pick a tool that Board members will even have enough time to complete.


The Costs of Intense Board Monitoring
Evaluating the Board of Directors


Qualifications and Evaluations of Directors and Boards
Center for Nonprofit Resources
Governance Health Check
Relative Performance Evaluation and Related Peer Groups
Board Structure and Monitoring
Self Assessment for the Board | CompassPoint
Are We Doing a Good Job? | CompassPoint
Improving board effectiveness: Five principles for getting the most out of a board assessment
Elevating Board Performance
Guilty As Charged: Prove Your Board Supports Your Organization | Karen Eber Davis Consulting
Evaluating The Board Of Directors (for-profit)
Board of Directors Self-Evaluation sample tool
Checklist to Evaluate a Nonprofit Board of Directors
Jean Freeman: Board Self-Assessment (nonprofit)
Executive Board Self-Assessment Tool (Boys Scounts)
Four Stages and Four Challenges of Organizational Development (nonprofit, download, includes Boards)
Organizational Self-Assessment Tool (nonprofit, includes Boards)
Board Self-Evaluation
Checklist to Evaluate Health of Board
Board Self-Assessment
Self assessment tool from Texas Arts
Boy Scouts Executive Board Self-Assessment Tool
Four Stages and Four Challenges of Organizational Development
Self assessment tool from Massachusetts Arts Council


Board of Directors Member Self-Evaluation
Board of Directors Self-Evaluation

Using Results

Organizational-Self-Assessment-Tool (arts nonprofit, includes Boards)
Improving board effectiveness: Five principles for getting the most out of a board assessment
Once Again: How Should Nonprofits Conduct Board Evaluations?* « Nonprofit Management


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