Here are the typical characteristics of an improving board.

Board Structure

  • May have term limits, but often they’re unenforced
  • The founder runs the show
  • May not have large enough board
  • Committees exist in name only

Board Meetings

  • Pre-meeting materials tend to come late
  • They also tend to be overwhelming or unclear
  • Not super organized or engaging 
  • Too many members miss them

Makeup and Recruitment

  • Members come from founder’s or board members’ network
  • General lack of diversity of skills
  • Not entirely representative of the community
  • New members sometimes feel lost, even after onboarding

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Occasional confusion around who is responsible for what
  • The board sometimes fundraises but it can feel like pulling teeth

Co-pilot Relationship

  • Board chair and ED are often not on the same page
  • Lack of clarity about roles between the board and staff that breeds distrust


  • No formal annual review of the ED
  • Board members are never assessed

How can you get to the next stage… HEALTHY?

Joan GarryGlad you asked! I’ve helped thousands of leaders like you and so over the next few weeks I will send you a handful of emails with practical advice that will help you transform your board for the better. This is advice I know will really help you.

So be on the lookout for emails from joan at (that’s me, Joan Garry!)


See you soon!