Tools for Executive Directors and Boards of Directors

Board of Directors Tools

Board Composition Matrix (PDF 143KB)
Is your board membership diversified? Are members actively involved? Use this helpful tool to get a snapshot of your board.

Board Development Pre-Assessment (PDF 36KB)
Would your board benefit from board training? Are some of the board members unsure of their role? Do some board members seem disengaged? This pre-assessment helps you assess your need for board development.

Board of Directors’ Assessment (PDF 152KB)
Start your new board year with reflection and clear direction.

Board Member’s Activity Report (PDF 78KB)
An excellent way for board members to be aware of their individual activity and engagement over the year. Can also be used as a kick-off to discussion with board chair.

Content for a Board Membership Manual (PDF 82KB)
A useful and important tool for nonprofit organizations is the board manual or handbook. Here are some guidelines on how to put one together.

Form for Prospective Board Candidates (PDF 61KB)
A questionnaire to help determine if prospective board members are a good fit for your organization.

Form to Evaluate an Individual Board Member (PDF 66KB)
How effective a board member are you? This individual self-evaluation will help you personally assess your board service.

Form to Evaluate Board Meetings (PDF 66KB)
A quick self-assessment to gauge the effectiveness of your board of director meetings.

How to Pick a Nonprofit Board to Serve On

What You Need to Know BEFORE You Serve on a Board (PDF 94KB)
Serving as a board member can be one of the most important, challenging and rewarding experiences of your life. Board members have important legal and fiduciary responsibilities that require a commitment of time, skill and resources.

Board Documents

Document Destruction and Retention Policy (PDF 60KB)
Document retention is a required practice for all corporations, including nonprofits. Adopting a policy for document retention and destruction ensures that you are in compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Sample—Code of Ethics for Board Members (PDF 76KB)
A Code of Ethics for board members helps define your organization’s principles and acceptable practices and provides guidance and direction for board conduct and decision making.

Sample—Conflict of Interest Policy (PDF 43KB)
A sample conflict of interest statement for board members.

Sample—Board Member Contract (PDF 73KB)
Understanding roles and responsibilities is an essential element of successful boards. This sample board member contract defines responsibilities from both organization and board member perspectives.

Tips for Developing Bylaws (PDF 106KB)
Bylaws are the internal rules and regulations that guide a board’s activity and answer important procedural questions.  They provide a roadmap for how the board operates.  In addition to having them reviewed from a legal perspective, bylaws should reflect how the board wants to conduct its affairs.  Equally important is that the board abides by its bylaws.  

Sample—Whistleblower Policy (PDF 87KB)
Enhance your organization’s public accountability and transparency while providing your employees with the necessary protections for blowing the whistle.


Annual Evaluation of the Executive Director (PDF 16KB)
An evaluation of the executive is an integral responsibility of an organization’s board of directors. The process by which boards fulfill this obligation varies. Here is a template that provides a sample executive evaluation.

Consent Agenda (PDF 272KB)
A useful tool for helping your board meetings run smoothly and efficiently.

Current Salary Survey (PDF 229KB)
Valuable information on salary ranges for many different positions in several cities in the Northeast area.

Emergency Succession Plan (PDF 236KB)
What would happen if your organization was faced with the unexpected and sudden departure of your executive director? Adopting an Emergency Succession Plan can help you ensure that essential functions continue uninterrupted by outlining a plan for the appointment of an acting executive director.

Exit Interview for Employees (PDF 100KB)
When an employee leaves an organization, an exit interview is a helpful tool.

Sample—Executive Director Contract (PDF 224KB)
A contract can help lay the groundwork for a successful relationship between your board and new executive director.

Sample—Social Media Tactical Plan (PDF 774KB)
A plan that includes tactical objectives used to accomplish social media goals.

Tips for Constructing an Elevator Pitch (PDF 57KB)
Learn how to engage people about your organization in a limited amount of time and leave them wanting to know more. 



For further information, please contact:

Center for Nonprofit Leadership
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