BoardSource Tips – Lead With Intent | What’s Your Board Score?

BoardSource, the go-to resource for all things related to good board service and governance, this month released its annual “National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices.” BoardSource has been collecting and analyzing trends in board practices since 1994 and it is the only national survey to gather information from both chief executives and board chairs regarding their experience in the boardroom.

Over 1000 CEO and board chairs responded to this year’s survey with 37% representing organizations with operating budgets less than $1 million; 49% with budgets between $1 million and $9.9 million; and 14% with budgets over $10 million.

Here are some highlights of the report:

  • Board giving remains a challenge: While the good news among these respondents is that board giving in 2014 was 85% (vs. 60% twenty years ago), only 60% of nonprofits had 100% board giving.
  • There is low Board participation in fundraising: on average only 22% of board members met with potential donors in face-to-face meetings and about 26% asked or joined others in directly asking for gifts.
  • Board composition – size and diversity – is slowly changing. Average board size has declined to 15 members in 2014 from 19 members in 1994. On boards, people of color have increased to 20% but 25% of boards remain all white.
  • More small and medium organizations (65% and 75% respectively) have female CEOs, but only 37% of large organizations have female CEOs
  • Together the duos of board chair and CEO spent a combined total of 4 days per month on board work.
  • 51% of boards have conducted a formal written board self-assessment in the past three years.

Best-in-class boards work with the CEO to foster a leadership culture in which together they are intentional in their work—in the areas of financial oversight, fundraising, strategy and outreach—to ensure the organization can fulfill its mission.

Note: If your CEO and/or board chair are not members of BoardSource, you should consider joining.  The full report can be accessed only through the member portal.

©BoardSource “Leading With Intent: A National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices”  January 2015.  Survey study supported by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation