All board directors have room for improvement. Self-evaluation tools are a great way to assess your board and how it interfaces with the executive director. Typically, boards do self-evaluations annually. It gives them the chance to compare their performances with the best principles and practices of governance. A self-evaluation template is a valuable tool for tracking progress over time.
Boards can evaluate individual board directors or the whole board. Self-evaluations give boards a chance to address their weaknesses in leadership. By virtue of doing the process, it sends the message to others that the board is interested in improving itself.
Review the following template and customize the questions and answer formats according to your needs:
- Does the board expresss the organization’s challenges and successes to its members and stakeholders?
- Does the organization have short-term and long-term (5-year) strategic plans?
- Do the board agendas include adequate representation of the organization’s strategic plans and priorities?
- Does the board guide staff on how to implement the board’s strategies and goals effectively based on your organization’s policies?
- Does the board create financial reports for the board’s budget, allocate resources, and use human resources, and share them transparently?
- Does the board take into account diversity of age, gender, race, ethnicity, areas of expertise including finance, real estate, property management, law, investments, and other issues?
- How would you rate the level of awareness the individual board members have regarding the board’s expectations for them?
- Are board members aware that they’re expected to make an annual personal donation?
- How satisfied are you with the planning of the board’s agendas to address ordinary items and new business items?
- How satisfied are you with the director’s level of preparedness for board meetings?
- Do board members serve on committees?
- Do directors receive written reports before meetings?
- Do all board members actively participate in important board discussions?
- How supportive is the board in receiving differing perspectives of board members?
- How likely is it that the board supports all collective decisions?
- Does the board actively recruit new board members to form a pipeline of potential board director candidates?
- Does the board have a designated process for orienting new board members?
- To what extent do you agree with the following statement: The board needs to reassess or make improvements in the orientation process.
- Does the board have an identified process for director education and development?
- Do the board members enjoy a special camaraderie with each other?
- Do you agree/disagree that the board has a clear distinction between the role of the board and the executive director?
- Do you agree/disagree that the board offers and receives regular feedback from the executive director and lead staff?
- Do you agree/disagree that the board and executive director have a mutually honest and trusting relationship?
- Do you agree/disagree that the board provides guidance and clarification to the executive director about new and existing policies?
- Do you agree/disagree that the board is clear about the kind of information and level of detail they need from the executive director about the functioning of the organization?
- Does the board have a formal process for evaluating the executive director?
- Does the process for evaluating the executive director need improvement?
- Do you agree/disagree that the board is fulfilling its responsibility to evaluate the executive director?
- Do you agree/disagree that the board bases the executive director’s performance primarily on the organization’s strategic goals and priorities?
- Do you agree/disagree that the board supports the executive director and openly expresses their appreciation for the executive director’s work on a regular basis?
- Do you agree/disagree that the board offers and encourages the executive director to take advantage of opportunities for professional development?
- How would you rate your overall awareness of what the board expects of you in your role as director?
- Do you regularly attend board and committee meetings?
- Do you spend adequate time in reading board minutes, reports, and other materials before board meetings?
- How familiar are you with the organization’s bylaws and governing policies?
- Do you agree/disagree that you frequently encourage other board members to express their opinions and build on the ideas of fellow board directors?
- Do you agree/disagree that other board members encourage you to express your opinions and ideas?
- Rate your level of listening and engagement during board meetings.
- Describe your ability to follow up with commitments made during board meetings.
- Assess your level of confidentiality as it relates to board decisions.
- Reflecting on your level of comfort, how likely are you to offer an opinion different than other board members?
- How likely are you to support collaborative board decisions that you voted against?
- Do you agree/disagree that you actively promote the organization’s vision and mission within your community?
- Do you frequently share information about relevant issues with your fellow board members?
Tips for Doing Board Self-Evaluations
Keep the process as simple as possible and do it anonymously, if possible. Ensure that all board directors fill out their assessments. Keep individual responses confidential but produce a summary of the results. In the interest of transparency, it’s acceptable to make the summary public if you think it’s appropriate. Review your results as a board and create action steps to improve your weak areas. Track your results over time so that your board gets better and better each year.
You can incorporate all the tips at once by using BoardEffect’s board management software system. The survey tool can be set up for a variety of question and answer types. Built-in self-evaluation templates give your board the flexibility to make slight adjustments from one year to the next so that you can easily make changes and updates and track your results. The program automatically tracks completion and analyzes your results. The platform is highly secure and gives you the ability to set controls granularly. The survey tool is just one of many board management tools that you get with BoardEffect.