Getting Started with a Board Self-Evaluation
Implementing a procedure for self-evaluation can be a powerful strategy for improving accountability and catching problems early.
Posted on Nov. 16th, 2023
A nonprofit’s board of directors carries a great weight. As the organization’s governing body, it is responsible for preserving mission alignment, maintaining compliance with state and federal regulations, and much more. A high functioning board can catapult a nonprofit into new tiers of success, whereas a dysfunctional board can drag even the strongest agency down into ruin.
The high stakes of this arrangement means that any board should have a mechanism in place to keep it self-aware and calibrated for best performance. Implementing a procedure for self-evaluation can be a powerful strategy for improving accountability and catching problems early before they can take root. Furthermore, some grantmakers have even begun to ask potential grantees whether or not they have a board evaluation process in place, so this process can be leveraged as a way to build confidence with your funders.
The following exercise was developed by Maria Fibiger at Three Dog Consulting and featured in our 2023 Board Development Series. We encourage you to take it back to your board for each member to fill out individually. Once everyone has made note of their personal ratings, set time for a group discussion to compare results. Taking the topics one by one will help call attention to important performance areas that may have been overlooked, and comparing each members’ ratings will help the board move towards a more uniform and cohesive understanding of their collective strengths and weaknesses.