Board Self-Assessment FAQs

About the BoardSource Board Self-Assessment (BSA)

The BSA is designed to educate and provide insights on your board’s governance performance, which will enable your board to operate at the highest and best use of its collective capacity. This easy-to-use survey tool gives every member of the board a confidential and convenient way to provide feedback to the board on the board’s performance. BoardSource began offering the BSA tool shortly after the organization’s founding in 1988. The product has evolved from a manually tabulated print survey to a user-friendly online assessment that is widely respected and utilized across the nonprofit sector. The current BSA for nonprofit governing boards, introduced in 2018, covers board practices and policies in ten areas of board responsibility related to the people, work, culture, and impact of the board.

The BSA for nonprofit boards of public and private charities has been customized specifically for associations, community foundations, private foundations, credit unions, independent schools, and a variety of other sub-sectors within the nonprofit sector.

What is BoardSource?

BoardSource supports, trains, and educates more than 60,000 nonprofit board leaders from across the country each year. With more than 25 years of experience, BoardSource provides leaders with an extensive range of tools and resources, including webinars, live training sessions, customized diagnostics, and original publications to increase their effectiveness and magnify the impact of their mission. BoardSource is a 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, visit our website, e-mail us at [email protected], or call us at 202.349.2583.

How often should we conduct a board self-assessment?

BoardSource recommends that organizations engage in a self-assessment process every two to three years.

Who is responsible for distributing the survey?

Your organization will elect a board representative, known as the facilitator, to provide e-mail addresses for all individuals invited to take the survey. On behalf of your organization, BoardSource will send out an invite e-mail containing a link to the online board assessment. The e-mail invitation that each board member receives has a user-specific link to his or her personal survey. Please make sure that they do not forward this e-mail to other board members.  The name of someone from your organization appears in the FROM line to help your participants recognize this as a legitimate e-mail.

If you have questions about the purpose of the assessment, your facilitator is your best point of contact.

If you need assistance completing the survey or have any technical issues, please contact BoardSource at 202.349.2583 or [email protected].


What is the process for conducting an assessment with BoardSource?

Please click here to view our full process and timeline. We estimate that it will take on average one month from the date of purchase to the date the facilitator receives your organization’s final report to conduct a Board Self-Assessment (BSA) with BoardSource.

Will my name and e-mail address be used for any purpose other than conducting this assessment?

No. It is the policy of BoardSource that all individual identifying information provided by survey participants remains confidential. Names and e-mail addresses provided to BoardSource are not, under any circumstances, shared with any other companies or organizations. Please review the Privacy Policy here.

Will anybody in my organization see my answers?

No. Your answers are kept confidential. They are submitted directly to BoardSource and individual answers cannot be accessed by anyone on your board. Only the aggregate answers are shared with your board via a data report. Answers to open-ended questions will be grouped together in random order in the data report. The text will appear exactly as it was entered, but it will not be attached to specific participants. Please review our assessments privacy policy here.

Will the facilitator see my answers?

No. The facilitator cannot link responses to individuals. The facilitator, however, is given information about who on the board has completed the assessment. Please review our assessments privacy policy here.

How long do I have to complete this survey?

Your deadline for completing this assessment is included in the e-mail sent to you.  We estimate it will take each individual around 30-45 minutes to complete the assessment.

Can I start and resume the assessment at a later time?

If you wish, you can begin the assessment and then return to complete it at a later time. Your answers are saved every time you move to the next page. To have your answers included in the data report, you must complete the entire assessment before the deadline date. You will find the deadline date for the survey in the e-mail you received.

How will I know how far I’ve progressed through the survey?

The white bar at the top of the page will turn blue as you progress through the survey so that you can track your progress.

How will I know that my survey has been successfully submitted?

When you see “We thank you for your time spent taking this survey. Your response has been recorded”, you can feel confident that your survey has been successfully submitted. Below this confirmation language, you will see a link on the right to download a PDF of your responses. We encourage you to click the link to download the PDF and save for future reference.

Can I change my answers once my survey has been completed?

Yes. If the survey deadline has not already passed, you can change or edit your answers. Please contact a BoardSource Assessment Services Representative at 202.349.2583 or [email protected] and request that we reopen your survey. If you wish to change a response after the deadline has passed, you must contact your organization’s facilitator to inquire about the possibility of doing so.

How much does your assessment product cost?

Pricing for our BSA tool varies on your membership with BoardSource.  To purchase the BSA tool, please click here.

$0 – $549 Board Support Program Members | $749 Individual Members | $975 Nonmembers

To learn more about our membership offerings, please click here or reach out to our member relations team at [email protected]


Can we have a report that compares this year’s data to last year’s / previous year’s data?

Yes, we offer year-to-year report for the BSA.  There is a fee of $250.00 associated with a year-to-year report. Your partnering BoardSource assessment services account representative will be able to assist you with payment so please reach out to them at [email protected] to let them know of your interest.

Can staff take the survey?

While we do not prevent anyone from participating in a survey, it is important to note that BoardSource’s BSA tool is geared toward assisting boards in evaluating their governance practices. This means the questions within our survey tool are designed with board members in mind and participants outside of the board may find that they are not equipped to answer many of the questions. If you choose to include staff in the survey they will be asked to complete the same version of the survey as the board and CEO. All participants do have the option to select “N/A/Don’t know” to any questions that they cannot provide a response to in order to move forward through the survey.

We generally recommend limiting participants to board members and the CEO. In some cases, it may make sense for senior team members who regularly participate in board meetings to take it as well. Should you choose to have staff participate in your survey, we recommend purchasing an additional segregated report ($250) to view responses by role. Please be sure to let our team at [email protected] know at the start of your survey if you are including staff and if you are interested in purchasing a segmented report.

If you have further questions, please contact a BoardSource Assessment Services Account Representative at 202.349.2583 or [email protected].