Performance Measures Your Board Should Consider

By / Feb 1, 2014 (Andy Roberts/Glow Images)

Advice on board performance measures, based on ASAE Foundation research.

In the ASAE Foundation research, CEOs were asked to give their board a numerical rating on each of the following 20 measures. The rankings were 1 for “needs improvement,” 2 for “satisfactory,” and 3 for “excellent.” Board performance rankings were based on the sum of all ratings.


  • Overall quality of board relations with staff
  • Overall quality of relations among board members
  • Stewardship over the organization’s resources
  • Willingness of the board to take responsibility for difficult decisions
  • Ability to make decisions based on organizational interests and not self-interest
  • Collegiality of the board atmosphere
  • Leading the organization in a way that maintains the public trust in nonprofits

Member Relations

  • Overall quality of board relations with the membership
  • Accountability to members
  • Direct outreach and engagement of membership

Strategic Performance

  • Effectiveness at strategic rather than operational thinking
  • Board participation in advocacy, public policy
  • Effectiveness at aligning the organization’s resources with strategic needs
  • Ability to serve as a catalyst for change
  • Understanding of the organization’s external environment and trends
  • Ability to achieve strategic plan

Internal Accountability

  • Board’s ability to set performance standards for itself
  • Board’s record of enforcing self-imposed performance standards
  • Securing feedback on its own performance from key constituencies

Chapter Relations

  • Overall quality of board-chapter relations (if applicable)

Beth Gazley

Beth Gazley, Ph.D., is associate professor at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. Previously, she was a fundraising professional and management consultant for public interest, health, and higher education institutions. More »