Published on February 28, 2014
BOARD EVALUATION Bill Taylor, UW Area Community Development Educator
References • The Handbook of Nonprofit Governance by BoardSource, published by Jossey-Bass, 2010 • The Board Chair Handbook, Second Edition by Mindy R. Wertheimer, published by BoardSource, 2008 • The Nonprofit Board’s Role in Mission, Planning and Evaluation, Second Edition by Kay Sprinkel Grace, MA; Amy McClellan, MNO; John A. Yankey, Ph.D., 2009 • The Board Building Cycle: Nine Steps to Finding, Recruiting, and Engaging Nonprofit Board Members, Second Edition by Berit M. Lakey, published by BoardSource, 2007
References (cont.) • Evaluating Board Performance by Bob Cropp, Director, University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, January 1966 at http://www.uwcc.wisc.edu/issues/Governance/board.ht ml • Board Performance Evaluation; Private Sector Opinion, Issue 9 by the International Finance Corporation at http://www.gcgf.org • Corporate Governance: A Primer on Board Member Evaluation by Bill Capps and Rob Steinberg of Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Mitchell LP at http://about.bloomberglaw.com/practitionercontributions/corporate-governance-a-primer-onboard-member-evaluation/
“Exceptional boards embrace the qualities of a continuous learning organization, evaluating their own performance and assessing the value they add to the organization.” The Source: Twelve Principles of Governance That Power Exceptional Boards
EXCEPTIONAL BOARDS • Results-oriented • Measure overall efficiency, effectiveness, impact, outcomes • Can’t afford complacency – keep discovering ways to increase their value
EVALUATION “Figuring out something’s worth by looking at it carefully.” • Assessing the effectiveness and performance of the organization, its programs and its services
POTENTIAL • Identify issues pushed aside during normal business • Identify strengths & weaknesses affecting optimal performance • Keep the board focused, on track • Allow board chair, members, & chief exec. to assess growth & progress in their roles
POTENTIAL (cont.) • Reinvigorate individual board members to take responsibility as part of the team • Reinforce that the board takes its work seriously & models good governance
WHEN • Varies with organization • Suggested: – Brief evaluation annually – Extensive every 2-4 years
WHO • • • • Governance committee Ad hoc committee Outside consultant Board chair and the membership in partnership
LEVELS • Organizational – extent to which the organization has met its stated goals & objectives & how well it performed in the process • Programmatic – efficiency and outcomes of various or individual programs • Board – how well the board as a whole is functioning and understanding its role
LEVELS (cont.) • Individual Board Member – how well each member is fulfilling his job description • Board Chair – is the chair a good leader and facilitator? • Chief Executive – how well is the chief executive fulfilling their job description and assisting the organization to their annual goals?
LEVELS (cont.) • Levels can be coordinated, mixed, or only certain ones performed, according to needs and structure of the organization
ORGANIZATIONAL EVALUATION • One method – dashboard reporting – Attached to meeting agenda – 1-2 pages – graphs, charts, tables, columns, limited text • Showing progress toward goals & objectives – Indicators to monitor: • • • • Finances Programs Quality control Human resources
ORGANIZATIONAL EVALUATION (cont.) – Benefits of dashboard reports: • • • • • Supports planning Identifies performance drivers Prioritizes information Identifies problems early Increases efficiency *ORGANIZATIONAL EVALUATION EXERCISE – 15 minutes
PROGRAM EVALUATION • Provides accountability to funders • Takes subjectivity out of justifying the organization’s existence • 2 components – Outcomes measurement • How a program is working – its results – Performance measurement • The inputs & outputs of a program • Quality & effectiveness of the program implementation
PROGRAM EVALUATION (cont.) • Based on qualitative & quantitative data • Methods – Surveys, interviews, focus groups, pre- & post-tests, observations, assessments of products from program participation
BOARD SELF-ASSESSMENT • How well is the board meeting its responsibilities? – Examine: • • • • • • Composition Identification & recruiting of new members Relationship w/ constituents/stakeholders Relationship w/ chief executive Does committee structure work? Are meetings well run?
BOARD SELF-ASSESSMENT (cont.) • Questions: – Is board clear about its roles & responsibilities? – Members familiar and in support of mission? Is mission appropriate for organization in 2-4 years? – Has board engaged in setting a strategic direction? Is there a vision of the strategic evolvement of the organization over the next 3-5 years?
BOARD SELF-ASSESSMENT (cont.) • Questions (cont.) – Is board knowledgeable about the programs? Is there effective processes for tracking program performance? – Does board understand the finances & resource strategy? Do all members participate in any fundraising? – Does budget reflect priorities of strategic or annual plan? Are financial controls in place? Are there established investment & risk management policies?
BOARD SELF-ASSESSMENT (cont.) • Benefits: – Moving from micromanaging organization’s work & directing focus on governance – More engaged & higher-performing board – Developing team-building skills & better problem-solving structure – Showing stakeholders board members take responsibility seriously – Improved board-staff relations
BOARD SELF-ASSESSMENT (cont.) • Benefits (cont.): – Clarification of division of labor – Identification of board structures needing improvement – Development of an action plan
BOARD SELF-ASSESSMENT (cont.) • When: – Every 2-3 years – Exploring roles & responsibilities – Identifying gaps in performance – Discovering problems – Developing plans for the future
BOARD SELF-ASSESSMENT (cont.) • When (cont.): – Critical points: • In early stages of the organization’s life, especially when hiring the 1st staff • There is confusion about which responsibilities belong to the board and which to the staff • During changes of leadership on the board or of chief executive • When doing strategic planning
BOARD SELF-ASSESSMENT (cont.) • Techniques: – Mini or complete assessment • Easy to complete surveys • Anonymous responses to encourage candid comments • Compiled in report to board • Sample from The Handbook of Nonprofit Governance • Culminate w/ extended board session or retreat to discuss & identify action steps – Regular board training
BOARD SELF-ASSESSMENT (cont.) • Techniques (cont.): – External Audit • Engage expert in governance • Review articles of incorporation or establishing resolution, bylaws, observe board & committee meetings; interview officers, board members, former board members, & chief executive • Written/oral report to board and chief executive • BoardSource provides online and custom evaluations – www.boardsource.org
BOARD SELF-ASSESSMENT (cont.) • Techniques (cont.): – Evaluating board meetings • 10-15 minute item on each agenda for discussion – “Ideas for Improving the Board” • Feedback form or round of comments at end of each meeting – 2 questions: » “The thing I most liked about this meeting was…” » “One thing that could have improved this meeting was…”
BOARD SELF-ASSESSMENT (cont.) • Techniques (cont.): – Evaluating board meetings (cont.) • Items to address: – – – – – – – – – Dealt w/ issues of substance & strategic importance? Run efficiently? Used board member’s time wisely? Well organized? Background materials available in advance? Begin & end on time? Everyone’s voice heard or did a few dominate? Issues were discussed & debated? Was something achieved? *Board Meeting Evaluation Exercise – 2 minutes
BOARD SELF-ASSESSMENT (cont.) • Outcomes of a good board assessment: – Measure progress – Identify areas needing improvement – Establish goals for the future – Remind members of their responsibilities – Reshape operations – Build trust, facilitate communication – Identify strategic planning initiatives
BOARD SELF-ASSESSMENT (cont.) • Outcomes of a good board assessment (cont.): – Improvements in monitoring program effectiveness – Enhanced board meetings & more effective use of committees – Improvements in process of reviewing chief executive’s performance – Strategies for more intentional board recruitment – Establishment of a governance committee & and a more thoughtful nomination process *Full Board Evaluation Exercise – 8 minutes
BOARD MEMBER EVALUATION • Two methods – Self-assessment • Based on the board member job description or the individual section of a board assessment instrument • Sample from The Handbook of Nonprofit Governance
BOARD MEMBER EVALUATION (cont.) • Two methods (cont.) – Peer evaluation • A brief anonymous survey – each board member rates others on items such as: – – – – – – Attendance Preparation Follow-through on assignments Quality of participation in discussion Interactions w/ other board members Interactions w/ staff • Results tallied & shared privately w/ each board member * Board Member Self-Evaluation Exercise – 15 minutes
BOARD CHAIR EVALUATION • Benefits: – Clearer view of the position & its requirements – Clarifies the work of the chair & where improvement is desired – Helps prevent informal mumbling & private discussions about the chair
BOARD CHAIR EVALUATION (cont.) • Focus: – Facilitation skills – Relationships & interactions w/ board members – Use of board work structures – Use of governance practices
BOARD CHAIR EVALUATION (cont.) • Handled by fellow board members (never the chief executive) • Anonymous survey • Communicated directly to chair in private discussion
CHIEF EXECUTIVE EVALUATION • Job description – Must be clear, unambiguous – Basis for evaluation and measurement • Expectations – Annual expectations should be listed to identify priorities and projected accomplishments
CHIEF EXECUTIVE EVALUATION (cont.) • When – End of fiscal year • What to evaluate – – – – – – Success in meeting organization’s overall goals Strategic alignment w/ board’s directives Accomplishment of management objectives Programmatic & fundraising achievements Fiscal management Relationship w/ board, staff, community
CHIEF EXECUTIVE EVALUATION (cont.) • Process – Organized by board chair – Should fit the culture of the organization – Should enhance working relationship between board & chief executive – Determine which instruments to use, who should be involved, how results will be communicated – 2 components • Self-evaluation • Board member questionnaire – Comments compiled, tabulated
CHIEF EXECUTIVE EVALUATION (cont.) • Written report – Shared privately with chief executive • Placed in personnel file – Provided to entire board
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