Value of a Large Board

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Published June 18, 2017

Value of a Large Board

Recently, we conducted a market research survey to determine the practice and success of Board training. You’ll be interested in some of the results. The findings are several dozen pages long. I’ll only share a few excerpts.

Most boards (43%) have 16 to 25 members. A large number (31%) have 15 or fewer. If one of the major responsibilities of a Board is to give and to help secure funds (and it is)— a larger Board would be more helpful.

Of interest, one of the most influential and affluential Boards in Milwaukee is the Boys & Girls Club. They are currently engaged in a $100 million campaign. They have 80 men and women on their Board— all key leaders in the community. The Board has given or secured most of the campaign goal.

The Board Chair of the New School (New York) was telling me about the success of their campaign. It was their first ($140 million). “Why was it so successful,” I asked. “Because,” he said, “the Board gave 85% of it.”

The major finding of the survey is that all agree proper coaching of the Board is of consequential importance. That does not surprise you.

Almost all have an orientation program for new Board members. (This is obviously very important). Most of these programs are conducted by internal staff. The largest percentage feel their coaching at the orientation sessions is quite effective.

Evaluating Board performance regularly is considered very important (9 out of 10). And respondents indicate they believe their organization is doing a good job of that. (I haven’t found that to be the case in most of the situations I know).

Only a third have Directors actively engaged in the solicitation of financial support from others. (That probably doesn’t surprise you at all!)

Nine out of ten have 100% participation in giving.