Board Self-Assessment Tool FAQ

Why do a board self-assessment?
To learn how the board is doing overall and what is going well and where improvements are needed.

Why use the League’s Board Self-Assessment tool rather than some generic assessment tool?
The League’s tool has been created with BoardSource to include dedicated sections on the roles and board relationships with the executive director and music director, both of whom are critical partners with the orchestra board.

Board members are very busy people.  How long does the self-assessment take to complete?
The assessment is an on-line survey-type questionnaire that takes 45-60 minutes to complete. The survey is set up so that Board members can start, then stop if needed saving their work as they go, and then return to complete the survey as schedule permits.

How are the assessment results presented?  Do we see individual responses? 
The report show aggregated responses, not individual responses. This group report format encourages candid responses from each board member as individual responses are confidential. For a sample aggregated report click here.

What are the topics covered in the self-assessment?
The self-assessment asks each board member to respond to a question or series of questions on each of the following topics:

  • Mission
  • Strategy
  • Funding and Public Image
  • Board Composition
  • Program Oversight
  • Financial Oversight
  • Executive and Music Director Supervision
  • Board Structure
  • Meetings
  • Individual Board Member Assessment

What does the self-assessment tool survey look like?
Click here to view 3 sample sections: Strategic thinking and planning, Selection and orientation of New Board Members, Board Structure and Operations

Is there a place for comments and suggestions in the survey?
Yes! An optional comment section, “How can the board do better in this area?” is provided at the end of each section.

How often should a board complete a self-assessment?
BoardSource recommends a self-assessment every 2-3 years, or whenever there is a change in leadership or a significant number of new members joining the board.

What is the process for acquiring and completing the Board Self-Assessment Tool?
The orchestra board designates someone to purchase the tool and serve as the contact for BoardSource. Within 48 hours of receipt of purchase, BoardSource will be in touch with the orchestra board contact to discuss the e-mail distribution of the survey to the Board members. Completing the survey usually takes an individual 45-60 minutes. Board members can choose to complete the survey in segments, saving completed sections as they go and returning to complete their responses when schedule permits, or Board members can choose to complete the survey all at once—whichever is easiest for their schedule.

Once all board members have completed the assessment, BoardSource gathers, aggregates and tabulates the results and formats the responses into an easy-to-read, ready-to-distribute report.

We have the aggregated results—now what?
The next steps for the Board may be informed by an analysis of the results from a best practices governance perspective. This analysis—an Interpretive Memo—can be prepared by BoardSource (additional fee applies), which once completed can provide the basis for a facilitated board retreat and action plan discussion. 

For details of the full range of professional consulting services provided by BoardSource, click here.