Foundations face little external scrutiny and are exempt from the market or fundraising pressures that influence other types of organizations. Therefore, an effective board is especially crucial for grantmaking institutions. Our research on foundation governance explores the attributes of an effective board through the eyes of CEOs and trustees.
||Beyond Compliance: The Trustee Viewpoint on Effective Foundation Governance (2005) describes five key characteristics of board effectiveness. The report also explores aspects of foundation board demographics, such as presence of family, compensation of members, and race of trustees.
||A special edition of Effective Matters explores discussions that CEOs and trustees recall as their “best conversations.” This research provides insights into the kinds of topics that boards and CEOs view as most important. It also describes ways to set up a meeting and plan the agenda that will enhance the board’s focus on the important issues.
All resouces on optimizing governance are available in the Content Library.
Using comparative data gathered through our large-scale research on foundation boards, the Comparative Board Report (CBR) provides a basis for boards to assess their functioning in a number of areas.
Some Questions Our Research Can Help You Answer
How do you prepare your trustees for meetings?
Are you aiming for meaningful diversity on your board?
Board members who are people of color only feel that they have equal influence on decision making when there are at least two other people of color trustees in the boardroom with them. Read more in an excerpt from Beyond Compliance.
Does compensation of your board members correlate with different board member behaviors?
Yes. Board members who are compensated report higher levels of involvement in certain activities. But members of boards that compensate don't rate theselves as more effective. Read more in an excerpt from Foundation Governance.