Assessing Performance

Board Evaluations for Nonprofit Organizations

BoardSource firmly believes in the power of performance assessment and board evaluation. We are widely recognized as the leader in evaluating nonprofit board performance, and for nearly 30 years, board leaders have looked to us to help them evaluate their leadership in order to catalyze positive change at the board level, strengthen the board-chief executive partnership, and lead to greater organizational impact.

BoardSource offers full-service products and tools that move your nonprofit leaders to the next level. Below, you will find the different assessments that can help evaluate your board or chief executive’s performance and identify opportunity areas.

Evaluating Board Performance

Board self-assessment enables the organization’s leadership to identify gaps between current performance and expected or hoped-for performance, as well as chart a course of improvement, refinement, and/or further progress. BoardSource recommends that boards conduct a formal self-assessment every two years, which may include an evaluation of each individual board member’s performance or the performance of specific committees or roles.

Board Self-Assessment (BSA) for Nonprofits

The BSA gathers feedback from individual board members and measures the collective performance of the board. For those who want to build upon the BSA, we offer a number of deeper supports to help set a course for strengthened performance.

  • BSA for Independent Schools: We’ve adapted our core board self-assessment tool to meet the needs of independent schools.
  • BSA for Associations: We’ve adapted our core board self-assessment tool to meet the needs of associations.
  • BSA for  Private Foundations: We’ve adapted our core board self-assessment tool to meet the needs of private, supporting/operating, and family foundations.
  • BSA for Community Foundations: With a focus on their local communities, we’ve adapted our core tool to meet the unique needs of community foundations.

Assessing Chief Executive Performance

Assessing chief executive performance is critical and can help you foster the growth and development of your CEO and organization. This enables your board to evaluate the chief executive’s performance in four key areas: annual performance goals, core competencies, leadership qualities, and accomplishments and challenges.

Assessment of the Chief Executive (ACE)

This survey tool enables the board to meet its annual responsibility to evaluate the chief executive’s performance over the past year and mutually agree on priorities for the future.

BoardSource is widely recognized as the leader in assessing nonprofit board performance. For nearly 30 years, board leaders have looked to us to help them evaluate their board’s — as well as their chief executive’s — performance to identify their strengths and weaknesses.

Board members and organization leaders typically begin the process with the following questions:

Roles in the Board Evaluation Process


A common question asked is, who facilitates the assessment? BoardSource has a dedicated assessment services account representative who will set up and administer the survey and compile the final report. BoardSource’s assessment products are full-service and not meant to be self-administered. To ensure a smooth process, there will be a main point of contact who will act as the facilitator. The facilitator will collect information, provide updates, and will be the individual receiving the final report. If you choose for a consultant to be your facilitator, BoardSource will happily collaborate with that individual with explicit permission from your organization.

Assessing performance is the most effective way to ensure your board members understand their duties and utilize effective good governance practices. The resources below describe the benefits and complications of board evaluation and highlight essential factors for high-performing boards.


Guides, Tools, Templates, and Infographics



It is a good experience for the board as a whole to step back and evaluate its work and seek understanding so together we can create greater impact for our mission.

Mary Beth McIntire, Comfort Zone Camp