“A strong, vibrant board of directors is a clear indicator of a healthy organization. Yet even the best organizations need a periodic check-up to ensure that they cannot just survive but will really thrive in today’s environment.

To check your board’s vital signs, or to put in place practices and strategies for a healthy and energized board, the best place to start is with a board self-assessment.”– Maine Association of Nonprofits

A recent governance survey conducted by BoardSource revealed that only 58% of nonprofit organizations use formal written assessments to evaluate their board’s effectiveness.

Some experienced board members who have served on multiple boards report that they’ve never participated in an assessment, while those who have adopted that as a best practice say it lays the foundation for setting board priorities.  Board assessments can motivate board members both individually and collectively to take steps toward strengthening governance and building a board that provides volunteer leaders with a rewarding experience. One key reason more boards don’t conduct self-assessments is that they don’t feel prepared to do so or fear negative results. They fear it will be time-consuming and expensive. This session will reveal how easy and valuable it is to tackle those fears and move forward.

During this session—presented by Patti Caldwell and Mary Walker — you’ll learn how Tucson Audubon undertook the challenge of finding an appropriate tool and process for a board self-evaluation, what worked and what didn’t work, and how they are using the results to strengthen their board and ensure that members have a common understanding of the role of the board.  You’ll learn about some of the available resources that are affordable and easy to use if you want to get started. It will be an interactive session in which participants will be encouraged to share their experiences in conducting and using the results of board assessments for their organizations.

Board Source and the Wise Giving Alliance (Better Business Bureau) make a strong case for boards to conduct self-assessments on a regular basis, at least every two years. If your organization hasn’t done a board assessment in the last couple of years (or maybe never), this session may be just what you need to get started on one this year. Board members and Executive Directors/CEOs are particularly encouraged to attend, but all are welcome.