Captioning–Press (Special Page)

"Our BoardAssist candidates have been amazing additions to our Board of Directors."

Executive Director, Good Shepherd Services.
Credit: Volunteers of America
helping individuals and families in need

25 Ways Your Board May be Failing

We love checklists and we know our readers do too!  For a great check list on evaluating your board, we reached out to Chicago governance pro, Tom Okarma, for this week’s guest blog. Hope you find it as useful as we did.  Thanks Tom!

25 Ways Your Board May be Failing

Do many of these sound familiar? If so, it’s time to do something.

  • No strategic plan in place
  • Poor alignment between goals and:resources, staffing, structure, budget, decision-making
  • Infrequently monitoring financial results
  • Relying on too few revenue sources and not nurturing new revenue streams
  • Failing to recruit prospective director candidates who are a good strategic “fit” for your board
  • Tolerating poor performance, lack of accountability, and weak governance on the board
  • Micro-managing the CEO and staff
  • Excessively focusing on “means” rather than “ends”
  • Failing to periodically make capacity-building investments
  • Permitting complacency and entitlement to slip into the boardroom and organization
  • Avoiding annual performace reviews and periodic organizational assessments
  • Permitting the CEO or board chair’s personality to become bigger than the mission
  • Allowing personal agendas to trump approved goals and strategies
  • Not seeking feedback on organizational performance from key partners, and others
  • Not using metrics to evaluate performance and improve impact
  • Not having or enforcing term limits for board members
  • Ignoring the 800# gorillas in the board room
  • Not making the “tough calls” when they are needed
  • Failing to invest in the professional growth of your key staff
  • Taking volunteers for granted
  • Not focusing on how effective your programs are
  • Losing focus by permitting mission creep
  • Settling for status quo
  • Embracing a “not invented here” attitude
  • Not celebrating successes, top performance, or when people go above and beyond


Tom Okarma is a tested and proven strategic thinker who helps leaders and nonprofit organizations succeed. He is a knowledgeable and reliable catalyst for nonprofits.