Governance Assessment

What it is

One of the ten responsibilities of a nonprofit board is to “Build a competent board” (Ingram, Richard T. Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards, second ed. BoardSource, 2009).  A governance assessment or board self-assessment is a process for building a more competent board by evaluating the top-level decision-making structure in an organization.

When you need it

Governance assessments should be done on a regular basis – ideally annually – with the results being discussed in a facilitated board retreat. A governance assessment is a valuable and often necessary first step in any organizational capacity building work. If your organization is not in the habit of board assessment, it is possible that:

  • Board members do not understand their governance responsibilities.
  • Board members are unclear about their role, duties, or how to best support the organization.
  • Board members are not satisfied with their board service and may be sharing their views outside the board room.
  • The board is suffering from stagnation.
  • The board is operating outside of the bylaws or doesn’t know what the bylaws say.
  • Just a few board members do the majority of the board work.
  • The board is not diverse and does not have a vibrant governance committee.

How we can help

Centerpoint consultants can help keep your organization’s governance structure relevant and effective and your board operating at its best. Board assessments often include activities such as confidential interviews or surveys of board, staff, and stakeholders. Centerpoint Institute approaches governance assessments with the full involvement of the board and CEO and from the standpoint of continuous improvement. When board and staff ask themselves how things are really going, the next step in board development is both easier and more productive.