• The organization and its programs are publicly recognized for their quality and effectiveness. The Board is engaged in activities that enhance its understanding of the context in which the organization operates and that raise community awareness of the organization and its work.
  • The organization has established and maintains relationships with local media, elected officials, community leaders, funders, and public and private sector organizations with whom it cooperates as well as partners as appropriate.
  • The organization is involved in strategic alliances that enhance the quality and/or quantity of services provided to the community, while remaining true to its mission. The alliances are viewed positively by all stakeholders.

Indicators of Good Governance

  • Board members can describe the mission and key programs accurately, and demonstrate understanding of the organization’s competitive advantages and developmental needs.
  • Board members readily identify and take advantage of opportunities to raise and protect the organization’s profile in the community and/or field.
  • The organization has a communication strategy to publicize its message compellingly and attract support from the community and its leaders.
  • The Board is aware of the concept of branding. It effectively and consistently portrays the organization and its services in a positive light.
  • The Board is prepared to manage crises responsibly. A designated team and communication strategy are in place for major public relations needs.

Questions for the Board to Ask

How do Board members engage their networks to support the organization’s mission?
Board members actively endorse the organization’s interests outside the Boardroom, through their personal and professional contacts. They are well-versed in the mission and activities of the organization, and take the initiative to enthusiastically promote it.

How do Board members learn about programs and clients?
Board members receive formal orientation and materials. They are exposed to programs through site visits and through presentations at Board meetings by staff and other stakeholders. The Board is kept up-do-date on the organization’s activities, personnel, and impact on clients and their needs to ensure that Board members’ statements about the organization are relevant and grounded in the experience of current staff and clients.

Is there a strong Board presence at major events?
Yes, Board members are expected to attend and take an active role in the organization’s events to remain engaged and informed, and to demonstrate the Board’s commitment to its stakeholders.

Has the Board developed and approved a communication strategy?
Yes, the communication strategy includes a plan to identify local community leaders — both official and unofficial — and establish relationships with them as well as with local media. The strategy includes a range of communication tools such as social media, websites, branding, etc.  The plan encourages cooperative activities with other community organizations and development of materials for the media about programs, events, and outreach.

Has the Board developed and approved a crisis-management response?
Yes, the Board has approved a crisis-management response that includes, at minimum, a plan for designating a spokesperson, notifying stakeholders, and maintaining a regularly updated list of professionals — attorneys, public relations specialists, public officials — who could be called upon to help in a crisis situation.