Nonprofit Board Performance Problems and How to Overcome Them

Many nonprofit boards face performance problems. Some are under pressure to improve from the eyes of law enforcement, while others seek to boost their worth in the eye of donors or the community, while others need to address specific issues of board governance. It is recommended for every board, regardless the pressures, to carry out some kind of evaluation. But, a performance review is a daunting undertaking particularly if the process is a new one for the board. The right tools and guidelines can help any board overcome obstacles and get to the top.

First, you must comprehend the problem. The most common problems are that the board acts too often as a “rubber stamp” for decisions taken by management or is involved in operational matters which should be left to the management team and CEO. The board may also be unclear about their legal obligations and how to safeguard themselves.

In these instances, the board must define and clarify its mission and provide clear lines of communication between the board and the management team. The board must also ensure that it has the right structures in place to perform its duties. This could include committees or officer positions whose main responsibilities include analyzing and gathering data on board performance. It is also important to follow-up on any actions agreed upon that result from a board evaluation. Otherwise, the momentum generated during the evaluation process can dissipate.

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