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What’s Your Board Prognosis? A Checkup in Nine Questions

On October 22, GCN’s Nonprofit University will hold its fifth annual Nonprofit Board Leadership Clinic—a full-day “boot camp” exploring the practices that drive exceptional governance. Each year, teams of executives and board members come together for a personalized governance checkup, and leave prepared to create, and sustain, a healthier, more engaged, and more effective board.

Wondering how the Board Clinic places these nonprofits on the path to more enlightened governance? It starts with an honest assessment of the board’s performance, and the answers to these nine questions:

  1. Has your board clearly defined the organization's mission and vision?

  2. Does it have a process for strategic planning and setting management policies?

  3. Does it have a clear plan for selecting, evaluating and developing the CEO?

  4. Has it developed a multiyear view of funding requirements that includes board giving and fundraising responsibilities?

  5. Do your board members provide access to the expertise needed by your organization to meet its strategic goals?

  6. Do they take an active role in building the organization’s reputation among key stakeholders and throughout the community?

  7. How keenly does the board oversee financial performance and risk management?

  8. Has it established a clear plan for assessing organization performance against the mission and program priorities?

  9. Has it implemented a formal process for evaluating and improving its own performance?

By answering these questions—from the perspective of both board members and senior staff—Board Clinic participants can initiate an informed discussion about the board’s current standing, and how to move, strategically, toward greater performance.

Juanita Yancey, executive director for the Georgia Head Start Association, used her organizational assessment to implement more robust training for board members. Presenting assessment results to the board members, said Yancey, motivated them to attend courses to improve board and committee meetings and “affirm that all members understand the mission and the responsibilities of the board.”

Learn more about the Nonprofit Board Leadership Clinic at gcn.org/boardclinic. One flat-rate registration fee covers up to five members from your board and leadership team. GCN members participating in our Access365 subscription program receive an additional 25% off of the registration fee.

Photo Caption: A board boot camp for West Georgia nonprofit leaders: More than two dozen executive directors and board members convened in Carrolton earlier this year for a full-day workshop focused on strategic governance models, including a self-assessment and a customized report of the most pressing needs for each organization. Facilitated by GCN EVP Chris Allers, the program was part of the Alice Huffard Richards Nonprofit Leadership Initiative, sponsored by the Community Foundation of West Georgia and the Alice Huffard Richards Fund.


Kellie Ladipo is GCN Marketing Manager.


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