Private Governance Index

Use sector trends to address challenges and evaluate your organization’s need for governance programming.


Nonprofit organizations often experience a disconnect between perceived and actual governance practices.  Ever wonder the following?

Do most boards in your network have strategic plans? Do they have term limits?

What recruitment practices reign within your network? Do most boards have a formal orientation?

Are most boards in your network prepared for executive transitions (planned or unplanned)?

Do most high-performing boards have common committee structures and/or meeting practices?

A governance index is the most comprehensive way to bridge the gap between perceptions and reality. It quantifies your network’s governance practices and performance, and allows our governance experts to evaluate and identify those areas where investment in governance programming and support is most needed. A governance index is an online survey that engages your board leaders in thinking about the organization as a microcosm while encouraging them to address their own governance challenges in respect to best governance practices. It identifies trends across your network in board composition, policies, and practices as well as provides a detailed view of the challenges that boards in your network are facing as they conduct their work.



Based on BoardSource’s exclusive Leading with Intent: A National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices1 — the only national survey to gather information from both chief executives and board chairs on their experiences in the nonprofit boardrooms of America — BoardSource can deliver a customized governance index to your nonprofit network. Additionally, your governance index can be benchmarked against common governance practices found in nonprofits across the United States.

A governance index project takes approximately 6 to 8 months from kickoff to completion, during which our seasoned team of consultants will plan the project and analyze the data to help your network develop training and other deliverables for your affiliates. Exact methodological packages will vary based on your network’s unique needs and goals, with prices starting at $40,000.

All packages are built around the following tried-and true-project framework:

Survey Administration

  • Project Planning & Communications – To ensure clarity of project goals and process, solidify the methodology and timeline, discuss specific deliverables, review agreed-upon customizations, and establish an ongoing communication schedule.
  • Survey Customization & Administration – To maintain the ability to compare results to national trends and practices, BoardSource recommends that customizations not cumulatively exceed 20 percent of the questions from the Leading with Intent survey.
  • Optional Survey Incentive for Respondents – To encourage participation, you may offer participants an incentive.

Data Compilation & Output

  • Aggregate Data Report – The raw data, including responses to open-ended questions.
  • Charts & Graphs – BoardSource will create 30 to 50 charts and/or graphs from the data to highlight notable trends or data, as well as to highlight the top five areas deemed priority by the client.

Analysis & Interpretation

  • Executive Summary – A 5- to 10-page narrative identifying the high-level governance considerations, findings, and conclusions.


Starting the conversation is easy — no commitment required!

To learn more about conducting a governance index of your nonprofit network, please email us.

Networked nonprofits  Community foundations


1 BoardSource has been conducting Leading with Intent (previously known as the National Index of Nonprofit Governance Practices) since 1994.