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The Self-Assessment of Boards is a crucial function of the board, and provides an ideal platform for discussing and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of governance. It’s a method for the board to take a step back and evaluate its own effectiveness, which in turn can lead to improvements in governance.

Making a board assessment effective process requires planning time, as well as board member engagement. The first step in determining the scope of the evaluation is to determine who will be the target audience for the evaluation. This could include the entire board, specific committees, and/or individual directors. A well-designed plan will define the evaluation method. Surveys, interviews or facilitated discussions are typical methods. Once the scope and methodology for evaluation are decided, it’s time to begin designing and distribution of questionnaires.

Some boards choose to conduct the test internally, while others hire a third-party consultant. A third party consultant will to ensure a thorough and impartial analysis, which is crucial if you don’t have the time or Board Self-Assessment Checklist resources to conduct the assessment yourself.

It is vital that board members assess themselves. However it is equally crucial that nonprofit boards focus on the whole. It is easy for board members of nonprofit organizations and their facilitators to become obsessed with evaluating the individual’s responses and neglect the board as a group.

A successful self-assessment is able to help boards define expectations, uncover weaknesses in the composition of their boards and align knowledge of the board with the organization’s strategy, address concerns of investors regarding diversity and turnover and improve the efficiency of their board practices and procedures. A growing number of public companies are releasing results of their evaluations of their boards in their proxy statements.

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