By: Margaret Karren

A Board self-assessment is a great tool to use to help improve your Board members' understanding of their roles and responsibilities. Boards that do an assessment are rated as being more effective. A good time to do this is before retreats or strategic planning meetings. An assessment should be done at least every two years.

Some sample questions to have on your assessment are:

Rated from 1 (excellent) to 5 (poor)

  • Do the Board members understand the organization’s mission?
  • Does the Board have clear goals and actions resulting from relevant and realistic strategic planning?
  • Does the Board receive regular reports on finances/budget?
  • Do Board meetings facilitate focus and progress on important organizational manners?
  • Does the Board evaluate the Chief Executive?
  • Does the Board have the necessary skills and diversity that they need?
  • Are the Board committees operating effectively?
  • List items that the Board should focus on during the next year.

At our last nonprofit workshop “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: The Path to a High-Performing Board,” I shared my experience being on a Board that did an annual assessment. As Board Chair of this organization, the feedback was very helpful in keeping our Board meetings focused and productive.