• The composition of the organization’s Board, staff, and clients reflects the interests, needs, and concerns of the constituency it serves and the community in which it operates. The composition also reflects the distinct needs of the organization at its particular stage of development, as well as the needs it is trying to address.

Indicators of Good Governance

  • The inclusion of diverse viewpoints and representation adds value to the organization’s mission and work and furthers its success.
  • The Board and the organization have systematic mechanisms in place to facilitate input (skills, perspective, and resources) from diverse constituent groups and stakeholders. Such input ensures that the organization is understanding of and highly responsive to its base of consumers.
  • Board members are aware that they have an obligation to give priority to the interests of the organization over personal interests or the interests of other parties.

Questions for the Board to Ask

Does the organization set appropriate levels of Board participation for each segment of its constituency?
Yes, inclusion is based on an objective and systematic process. The organization is sensitive to this issue and actively seeks to achieve balanced participation of relevant groups and their interests.

Does the organization ensure that constituent needs are understood and addressed?
Yes, sustainable, diverse structures are in place to allow input to the organization’s strategic decisions from all constituent groups. [Note: These structures may include such things as an advisory council or alliances with representative organizations.] 

Are the leadership skills of constituent groups being developed?
Yes, the Board actively cultivates leadership among its constituent groups, especially those on the Board, by:

  • Accommodating differences, whether in language, culture, or experience;
  • Encouraging everyone to speak up;
  • Providing training/mentoring to less experienced Board members;
  • Making sure participants are informed about all of the organization’s projects and activities; and
  • Performing outreach, as needed, to specific Board members or constituent groups whose representation may be lagging or dormant.