BoardSource Releases National Study on Nonprofit Board Practices
(Press release, Jan. 27, 2015) — BoardSource — the only national organization dedicated to nonprofit board leadership — released Leading With Intent: A National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices. This comprehensive scan of nonprofit board practices, policies and performance is a powerful window into current board leadership and trends.
While the report includes good news, the bottom line is that nonprofit chief executives and board chairs give their boards a B- grade in overall performance. Leading With Intent explores why and what can be done about it.
- Recruiting board members is getting harder. Fifty-eight percent of CEOs say it is difficult to find board members, compared to 44 percent in 2012. Recruiting diverse leaders is especially challenging, and progress in increasing racial/ethnic, gender and age diversity is slow.
- Boards perform best in their oversight roles, but there is evidence that boards need to be more thorough in setting CEO compensation and more attentive to the importance of consistent board meeting attendance, which is declining.
- Boards are most challenged by their external leadership roles. Less than one-half of boards are active in their organization's advocacy efforts, and fundraising remains one of the most important areas for improvement.
- There is a link between regular board self-assessment and stronger board performance. CEOs of boards that have done a formal board evaluation in the past three years report higher performing boards and greater board engagement.
"Leading with Intent indicates that a sector characterized by strong board leadership is within our reach," says Anne Wallestad, BoardSource president and CEO, "but it will not happen on its own. We must focus our energies and resources to help boards that are working diligently to strengthen their performance, and we need to challenge those that are not to set a higher bar for themselves and their missions. We invite all nonprofit leaders to join us in this effort."
BoardSource thanks the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for its support of Leading With Intent.