Giving Compass' Take:

• Debra Rainey, writing for Independent Sector, discusses board performance and whether or not a board can effectively evaluate themselves.

• What is the best way for boards to evaluate themselves? What are the standards for successful board performance?

• Check out the Giving Compass Boards and Leadership Magazine.

A few blogs ago, we took a look at the role of nonprofits boards. As you’d expect, generally speaking, your board’s job is to make sure your organization has a vision and mission, is protecting its assets, and has the right staff and appropriate resources in place so you can achieve your goals.

But what about your board? While your board’s checking on you, who’s checking to make sure your board is “aboveboard” in meeting its duties and obligations?

Best practice calls for board members to evaluate their performance regularly. Many boards conduct self-assessments annually, and all boards should conduct evaluations at least every three years, bearing in mind board service terms or regular long-range planning cycles. During these self-assessments, board members should consider what’s going well, what needs improvement, and whether and how their interaction with your organization’s leadership can be strengthened.

But that brings up a question: Can board members impartially evaluate themselves? And what if an underperforming board member needs to be politely shown the door? Kind of screams awkward, right?

To avoid what could be an uncomfortable situation, boards often delegate board member evaluations to their executive committees, or to a separate governance or board development committee. Board members with evaluation responsibility should be empowered to discuss performance problems with individual members to determine whether the issue can be corrected, or whether the actions of the board member are such that he or she needs to resign or be removed from the board.

Read the full article about how to evaluate your board by Debra Rainey at Independent Sector