High-impact health care foundation boards utilize routine board evaluation to highlight strengths and uncover opportunities for performance improvement at the individual member and collective board level. Most boards use an annual self-assessment tool delivered in a paper or online format to support this process. Such tools are readily available from a variety of professional associations, consulting firms and other resources. Using an external tool offers a variety of benefits:
• Appropriate question design
• Access to comparison information from similar organizations to provide context about the organization’s relative performance
• Expertise in processing, analyzing and prioritizing results to inform future plans
While a range of external tools and expertise are available, some boards do not feel they have the resources to secure them. However, perceived lack of access to a formal tool should not impede clarifying and prioritizing opportunities for organizational and board improvement.
Evaluation supports excellence.
Therefore, the following guide is intended to support discussion about advancement opportunities for foundation boards that wish to pursue a “do-it-yourself” route to optimizing organizational and board performance.
Mission & Vision
• Do all members of the board share a clear and common understanding of the organizational mission and vision, not only to use it as a guide for decision-making but also to enable articulating it to others?
• Does the board effectively use its collective expertise, knowledge, skills and insights to guide the organization and advance the mission?
• Do board members receive timely, consistent access to appropriate education, information, resources and tools to support active, effective engagement?
• Does the board expect, receive and monitor information on organizational performance including financial, donor engagement and activity measures?
• Does the board effectively discharge its financial oversight duty through routine review of statements, use of an independent audit, etc.?
• Does the board appropriately drive accountability within the organization?
• Does the board transparently share performance, outcomes and impact to support donor stewardship?