How to Conduct a Board Self-Assessment

Board Self-Assessment offers a means to analyze and discuss governance strengths and weakness. The board can take advantage of it to take a step back and evaluate its own effectiveness. This will result in better governance.

Developing an effective board assessment process requires planning, time and involvement of board members. The first step is to determine the scope of the evaluation. It could be the entire board, a specific committee, or a specific director. A well-designed plan will define the evaluation method. Surveys, interviews or facilitated discussions are all common methodologies. Once the extent of the evaluation and the methodology have been determined the next step is to create and distribute questionnaires.

Some boards choose to conduct the assessment internally and some choose to hire a third-party consultant. A third-party consultant can help ensure a thorough and impartial analysis, which is especially crucial view it when your board does not have the time or resources to conduct the evaluation on their own.

While it is crucial for board members to assess their own performance, it’s equally important for boards of nonprofit organizations to focus on the group as the whole. It is easy for nonprofit boards and their evaluation facilitators to become absorbed in assessing individual responses and not pay attention to the board as a whole.

A successful self-assessment can help boards clarify their expectations of each other, identify gaps in board composition and align the expertise of board members with the organizational strategy and address concerns of investors about the diversity of boards and their turnover and also increase the effectiveness of their procedures and practices. Increasingly, public companies are publishing the results of their board’s evaluations in their proxy statements.