Our Trustee Handbook lists characteristics of effective foundation boards, which you might find helpful:
- The board has a well-defined board governance system with rules and processes that allow it to function efficiently and effectively.
- Board members are fully acquainted with the purposes, goals, history, and potential of the foundation they govern.
- Board members are united in their support of the foundation’s mission and grant program.
- The board meets with enough frequency to accomplish its work.
- Each board member accepts personal responsibility for ensuring that the mission is carried out and that all rules, regulations, and procedures are followed.
- Board members periodically disclose any real or perceived conflicts of interest and follow the board’s policy in dealing with them.
- The board regularly evaluates the outcomes of its programs, builds on its successes, and learns from its
- The board communicates regularly and openly with the public about its mistakes.
- The board recognizes its staff and grantees as partners.
- The board takes its own education very seriously and is open to different points of view.
- The board plans for the future, develops a process for renewal, and addresses the issue of succession.
Source: Anne Morgan, Ph.D.
For a more formal assessment, you may want to consider our Practical Board Self-Assessment, which includes questionnaires that allow you to rate your board in the areas below. You can complete any or all of the sections, as relevant to your needs.
- Trustee roles and responsibilities
- Board effectiveness and dynamics
- Legal and tax compliance
- Financial oversight
- Board meeting assessment
- Individual board member self-assessment
You’ll find additional ways to assess your board in the article Board Assessment: Three Common Methods.