• The board meets regularly to address matters of policy, strategic direction, organizational performance, and community impact.
  • The board receives financial and other important information sufficiently in advance of the board meeting to allow adequate time to review and prepare questions.

Indicators of Good Governance

  • The board meets regularly throughout the year, with a majority of directors in attendance.
  • Board candidates are formally selected with an emphasis on the skills needed to advance the work of the organization.
  • Accurate minutes of board meetings are kept, reviewed, and approved at the subsequent meeting.
  • New directors receive comprehensive orientation after election to the board.
  • Ongoing training is provided regularly to the board to ensure effective service by directors.
  • The board maintains active involvement through rotation of duties and/or term limits.
  • Meetings deal primarily with policy formulation and the review and evaluation of the work of the organization. Routine matters are handled with dispatch.
  • The committee structure reflects the organization’s strategic priorities and changes, when necessary, to advance the mission. Committees are used effectively so that board members with relevant skills can focus on key issues.
  • The board understands its legal obligations.
  • A conflict of interest policy is reviewed periodically and signed annually by board members.
  • The board is aware of all federal, state, and local obligations (and liabilities) applicable to the organization.

Questions for the Board to Ask

How often does the board meet?
The board meets in person at least four times per year. If there is a strong committee structure with meetings on a regular basis two to three full board meetings may be adequate.  If committees do not meet on a regular basis then more meetings will be necessary.   [Note: If the board meets too often, it may be micro-managing the organization. A board that meets rarely tends to have little impact and oversight. In either extreme, board accountability for the organization is compromised.]

Does the board practice the basic steps of board development, recruitment, orientation, training, and renewal?
Yes. There is a formal process of nominating and interviewing candidates; orienting and training new directors; and continued education of the board.

Have terms been set for Officers of the Board?
Terms of at least two years have been set. [Note: Some newer organizations may not be ready to set terms, but should set them as the organization becomes more.]

Does the board conduct annual or periodic self-evaluation? How are the results used?
Board performance is assessed periodically. Membership composition, selection process, structure, satisfaction, turnover, and overall performance are considered. Results are used to plan for board development, as warranted. 

Does the board have a functioning committee structure that reports to the board on a regular basis regarding important issues?
Active standing and/or ad hoc committees bring matters to the full board for discussion or approval at each meeting or on a regular basis. [Note: The board may use a consent agenda for some, but not all, committee reports.]

Are board members aware of their legal responsibilities to the organization?
All the relevant policies are in place and enforced, including a Conflict of Interest Policy which is reviewed and signed annually by each board member.

Are terms for Officers of the Board enforced?
Terms are enforced as part of an established commitment to maintain board effectiveness through renewal.

Does the organization have Directors and Officers Liability Insurance?
Yes, this policy is in place to protect board members and the organization in event of legal action not covered by a general liability policy.