VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism

They are volunteers, too!

Look here for infomation and the latest techniques to develop your board or committee. The purpose is to help those who work or serve on nonprofit boards of directors or committees.
~March 2001~


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.



 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

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.

Copyright 2001 by Nancy Macduff.
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