They are volunteers, too!
An annual self-assessment of the board of directors is a helpful way to see what the board members think of their operations and what improvements are needed. It also is a diplomatic way to remind board members of some elements of their job description that they may have ignored. The best way, I think, is to ask board members to fill this out anonymously and return it to the president or secretary who can tabulate the answers and share them with the board at the next meeting. The board can then see more clearly if there are areas in which the board needs to improve the way it does its business.
I always use this in advance of conducting a board retreat. I have it returned to me, and it helps me diagnose areas which I need to stress.
|MY CONFIDENTIAL BOARD ASSESSMENT|
|1. At least 85% of the board attends each meeting.||YES||NO|
|2. Board members come to the board meeting prepared, having reviewed materials (agenda, financial and committee reports etc.) sent to them by staff at least a week in advance.||YES||NO|
|3. The board meeting agenda is prepared jointly by the executive director and president with input from committee chairs.||YES||NO|
|4. Mission, goals, policies and/or by laws are often referred to during a board meeting as touchstones for decisions.||YES||NO|
|5. Given adequate personnel, board members see their job as setting policy and the staff job as administering that policy.||YES||NO|
|6. Board members are able to disagree with each other without personally attacking each other or the staff.||YES||NO|
|7. Most of the discussion at the board meeting is on issues that are important to the mission of the organization.||YES||NO|
|8. Oral committee reports are made only if there are items that require a decision by the board.||YES||NO|
|9. The executive director is open with the board about concerns.||YES||NO|
|10. There are educational sessions and field visits for the board that deepen understanding of the organization's programs.||YES||NO|
|11. Communications among the president and other board members are open.||YES||NO|
|12. The board evaluates the executive director annually.||YES||NO|
|13. All board members view contributing and raising funds as part of their job.||YES||NO|
|14. The board is supportive and knowledgeable about the involvement of volunteers in the organization.||YES||NO|
|15. All members of the board assist the nominating committee year around by suggesting potential new board members for consideration in the light of board-approved criteria.||YES||NO|
|16. The board attends the events sponsored by the organization||YES||NO|
|17. Most of the time I enjoy serving on this board.||YES||NO|
|18. One thing I would like to change about this board's operations is:||
Jeanne H. Bradner is an author, consultant, trainer and speaker on volunteerism, board development and leadership. She is the author of three publications, Passionate Volunteerism, The Board Member's Guide, A Beneficial Bestiary and Leading Volunteers for Results: Building Communities Today. She served as director of the Illinois Governor's Office of Voluntary Action, Midwest Regional Director of ACTION, and Executive Director of the Illinois Commission on Community Service. She is the volunteer program specialist for Illinois' Harper College Volunteer Management curriculum. Send your comments and questions to Jeannebrad@aol.com.