A Framework for Our Strategy

BoardSource’s strategic framework focuses us on what we believe is most important for a national organization working to strengthen nonprofit board leadership, and challenges us to organize all of our programs around our two goals and six strategic imperatives.

Goal 1: Deepen Understanding & Inspire Action on Critical Sector Issues

Strategic Imperative: Identify & Interpret Trends Impacting Leadership Performance and Effectiveness

BoardSource has a tremendously important and valuable role to play in mapping sector-wide trends in board leadership and governance. We will deepen this work through Leading with Intent and our board self-assessment tools, identifying new ways to increase our understanding of what is happening in boardrooms across the country and learning from those organizations and boards that are leveraging their boards most effectively to strengthen their organization’s impact and performance.

In support of this strategic imperative, we will

  • invest in research expertise and capacity, both on-staff and in partnership with academics and colleague organizations
  • refine our assessment and benchmarking tools to ensure that they serve the organizational needs of boards and chief executives, as well as cultivate deeper insight into board performance across the nonprofit sector

Strategic Imperative: Generate Evidence-Based Recommendations for Board Practice

Due to BoardSource’s broad and inclusive vantage point, our ability to map and document macro-level trends, and our strong reputation as a hands-on provider of governance consulting, BoardSource is uniquely positioned to bridge research and practice in the field of nonprofit governance and generate truly evidence-based recommendations for board practice.

To leverage this opportunity and meet this need, we will

  • align our research agenda with learning objectives that can be tested in the boardroom
  • expand our focus on BoardSource learning projects, which are research-driven consulting engagements that enable us to work across systems or cohorts of organizations and leaders to document learning and change that occurs over time
  • meet the need for consultative support for individual organizations through a streamlined set of consulting methodologies and direct access to BoardSource’s vetted pool of consultants

Strategic Imperative: Create Positive Change by Directing Attention to Key Opportunities and Challenges Facing Nonprofit Leaders

As evidenced through the Stand for Your Mission campaign and other broad efforts to raise awareness and understanding about board leadership opportunities and challenges, there is a powerful role for BoardSource to play in helping to identify sector-wide opportunities to strengthen organizational impact.

In support of this strategic imperative, we will

  • expand our efforts to partner with organizations and leaders on critical issues affecting the sector
  • leverage our leadership and network as a part of collective efforts to advocate for the sector

Strategic Imperative: Inspire New and Diverse Leaders to Serve

The future of the social sector depends on our ability to attract and engage top talent at the board and staff levels and to do so in a way that builds relevance and credibility within our communities. This requires boards to lead from the top when it comes to a commitment to diversity and inclusivity and make real progress in diversifying nonprofit board leadership.

Embracing our responsibility to build momentum and action, we will

  • create greater urgency around the importance of diversity on nonprofit boards by establishing board diversity as a key criterion for evaluating overall board performance
  • expand efforts to identify and inspire new board leaders by celebrating board leadership as a powerful way to advance the public good through individual service
  • deepen partnerships with corporations that are building opportunities for their talent to serve on nonprofit boards


BoardSource envisions a future where the nonprofit community has the leadership to fulfill its purpose and create a just world where all can thrive.

GOAL 2: Educate Leaders and Support Effective Board Service and Governance

Strategic Imperative: Provide Relevant and Accessible Resources and Guidance to Strengthen Board Leadership Globally

Envisioning a world where every social sector organization has the leadership it needs to fulfill its mission and advance the public good, BoardSource has a clear mandate to redouble its efforts to provide board leadership supports that are affordable, scalable, and accessible beyond the limits of geography and time zones. While we will continue to do this in a way that serves the broad needs of the social sector as a whole, we will focus on building supports for those organizations that do not have access to support from other board leadership resources, including the 83 percent of charitable organizations with budgets of less than $1 million a year.

In support of this strategic imperative, we will

  • strengthen our board support program for organizational members and include virtual coaching elements that foster ongoing board development that is informed by an organization’s self-assessment of its board’s performance.
  • offer more — and more comprehensive — educational supports that are available on-demand, including a new online resource center and on-demand trainings
  • expand the number of open-access educational offerings through regular sharing of relevant and free board resources

Strategic Imperative: Engage and Support a Broad Network of Nonprofit Board and Staff Leaders

BoardSource will work to build a strong and supportive network that creates opportunities for leaders to learn from and connect with each other.

In support of this strategic imperative, we will

  • partner with other organizations and networks to reach beyond our current network of 115,000 nonprofit leaders to reach a greater portion of the more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the United States and the growing community of global NGOs
  • build a new platform to support peer-to-peer learning and networking, with a special focus on connecting chief executives and board members to their peers and colleagues across the country and around the globe