A board that is often so focused on the organization that it rarely takes the time to reflect on its own performance is headed for trouble. Few boards evaluate their performance on a regular basis because they feel they are doing the job they are supposed to, and won’t learn anything new from a self-assessment.
Consider implementing a board evaluation process that combines a simple board survey with a focus on the organization that also includes feedback from the Executive Director. This forum is a great basis to start a meaningful conversation about areas for improvement. Often times, an executive director will have excellent ideas about what is needed to move forward, and how the board can participate in a more effective manner. For example, perhaps the organization has started to grow its individual giving, and now it is time for board members to help out making phone calls and attending donor meetings.
Put together a team to focus on a board assessment initiative in 2017. You can find lots of templates online for questions to include in your assessment. Make sure that the questions are open ended and demonstrate you care about what your board members have to say. The right questions can help foster a sense of commitment and shared purpose, such as: If there were two things you would change about the board, what would they be? What makes you most proud of the board? What do you think are the accomplishments for the board and the organization this past year? The assessment doesn’t need to be long. It just needs to ask the right questions to move you forward and energize your board. Have your team analyze the responses and select the most important topics for a discussion. Spend time at the following board meeting discussing results, and make sure your board members feel heard and valued.
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