Nonprofit Board Members are expected to bring a diverse set of skills, experiences and connections to their organization. Their voluntary involvement is the basis for the continued success (or failure) of an organization. The specific skill set or a combination of skills a Board Member brings to an organization usually fills a knowledge gap, bringing expertise in areas of weakness or targeting areas for potential growth.
However, Nonprofit Board Members and the organization’s staff they work with often struggle with the identification and execution of clearly defined measurements of success, responsibility and accountability. In order to be effective and avoid frustration, it is important for Board Members to have clearly defined roles, responsibilities and objectives as part of their Board Member orientation.
This is where the Board scorecard becomes a vital tool for measuring results and providing accountability for each individual Board Member and the Board as a whole. A Board scorecard is a document in which the roles of each Board Member are outlined. It includes items such as target completion dates for annual giving expectations, Member introductions, solicitations (monetary and in-kind), hours of service, membership on a subcommittee, meeting attendance and event participation. These areas of expectations and participation are recorded on the Board Member’s scorecard.
At least three days prior to each Board meeting, Board Members should receive a copy of their updated individual scorecard to ensure time for checking accuracy and making updates. Each Board Member should then forward his/her scorecard to the Board Chair so the information can be complied and distributed to the entire Board at their meeting. (You can do this anonymously by assigning each Board Member a number and listing results in that way to ensure privacy, if this is part of your Board culture). Due to the nature of this tool, it is imperative that an organization’s staff maintain accurate and current records.
The Board Chair and Chief Executive of the organization should be knowledgeable of each Member’s contributions and therefore identify those who are struggling to reach their goals, allowing for one-on-one support and coaching. Through the use of a Board scorecard, Board Members can be evaluated and share their feedback based on the criteria outlined for success. Both the organization and the Board Member are then able to decide if ongoing participation is beneficial for the advancement of the organization’s mission, success and financial growth. The importance of a strong and responsible Nonprofit Board as a whole and Board Members individually to an organization’s mission and success cannot be underestimated!
Interested in a sample Board scorecard that has worked for me over the years? Click here: JB+A Board Scorecard Sample.