CEO Dissatisfaction with Board Performance at Midsized NFPs – Study
Monday, 2nd June 2008 at 12:44 pm
Most heads of medium sized Not for Profits in the US give their Board members low marks for fundraising and monitoring board performance, according to a new Urban Institute study.
The study looked at Not for Profits with annual expenses between US$500,000 and $5 million. Sixty-two percent of the chief executive officers say their boards do a fair or poor job raising revenue and 60 percent assign similar marks for boards’ self-examination.
More than a quarter of CEOs rate their boards as fair or poor when it comes to evaluating the CEO, planning, monitoring programs and services, dealing with the community, and educating the public about the organization.
Although most CEOs rate their boards as good or excellent in most roles, the only area in which a majority (53 percent) rate their boards as excellent was respecting board-staff boundaries.
Just under half (48 percent) say their boards are doing an excellent job of financial oversight.
Researcher Francie Ostrower says substantial percentages feel their boards are doing a poor or fair job in many areas and the findings clearly do reveal disturbing levels of CEO dissatisfaction with board performance.
Ostrower’s report, "Boards of Midsize Nonprofits: Their Needs and Challenges," culled 2005 data on 1,862 midsize organisations. These organisations make up approximately one in five public charities in the US.
Ostrower recommends three steps boards should take immediately:
– Carefully assess recruitment criteria and their fit with the organisation’s needs. Attract well-rounded members and consider an array of backgrounds and skills.
– Promote a culture that encourages members to help set the board’s agenda rather than concentrate influence solely in the hands of the CEO or board chair.
– Institutionalise a procedure for the board to use to regularly monitor its own performance.
Ostrower says Not for Profits must also get help recruiting new members and widening the pool from which they draw.
"Boards of Midsize Nonprofits: Their Needs and Challenges" is accessible at http://www.urban.org/url.cfm?ID=411659.
The Urban Institute is a Not for Profit policy research and educational organisation that examines the social, economic, and governance challenges in the US.