Nonprofit Governance Index 2012 Suggests Some Positive Trends and Continued Concerns

Nonprofits appear to be bouncing back, according to BoardSource‘s Nonprofit Governance Index 2012.  Compared to what was happening in 2010, nonprofits are launching more new programs and initiatives.  Fewer nonprofits are cutting or freezing salaries.

Increasing board diversity would benefit the advancement of their organization’s mission, according to the majority of the 1,341 CEOs responding to the BoardSource survey.  However, most do not report a strong push to include diversity practices for board recruitment.  The respondents’ boards typically consist of 16 members, with two-thirds being female and 80 percent being above the age of 40.

The Governance Index shows that boards typically meet four to six times per year, with 35 percent of meeting time dedicated to committee reports.  

Accountability through board self-assessment has grown since 2010, with 55 percent of boards conducting a formal self-assessment in the past three years compared to 50 percent of boards in 2010.

Despite rising expectations, most board members are reluctant to participate in fundraising activities and identify potential donors. Fundraising continues to be the weakest area of board performance, according to most respondents.

Most boards do not receive training on advocacy responsibilities, despite board members being some of the best allies of an organization.

The Governance Index provides additional information on board culture and performance, and offers insights on improving board effectiveness. 

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