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Leading with Intent

From: BoardSource

Leading with Intent

BoardSource recently released its report, “Leading with Intent: 2017 National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices,” which analyzes trends in nonprofit board leadership.

As the leading organization focused on strengthening and supporting nonproft board leadership, BoardSource has been tracking and analyzing trends in nonproft board leadership since we launched our frst national study in 1994. Leading with Intent: 2017 National Index of Nonproft Board Practices is the most recent in this series of studies. Board chairs and executives from more than 1,300 nonproft organizations responded to a survey in the summer of 2016, sharing data and insights about their boards’ composition, practices, performance, and culture (Methodology, page 6). Responses from these 1,700 leaders are the basis of this study. – BoardSource, Leading with Intent: 2017 National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices (Washington, D.C.: BoardSource, 2017). 

The report is divided into four major categories:

  1. People: Board Composition and Structure
  2. Culture: Leadership Culture and Dynamics
  3. Work: Board Responsibilities
  4. Impact: Perceptions of the Board’s Impact on Organizational Performance

Here are some key findings from the report:

  1. Boards are no more diverse than they were two years ago, and current recruitment priorities indicate this is unlikely to change.
  2. Boards are starting to embrace their roles as advocates for their missions, but stronger leadership is needed.
  3. Strong understanding of programs is linked to stronger engagement, strategy, and external leadership – including fundraising.
  4. Boards that assess their performance regularly perform better on core responsibilities.
  5. Chief executives and board chairs agree that the board has an impact on organizational performance and that two particular board characteristics matter most: the board’s understanding of its roles and responsibilities, and the board’s ability to work as a collaborative team toward shared goals.

Check out the key findings and see how your board compares to your peers in its composition, culture, and practices. Explore trends and insights about today’s nonprofit boards. And use the data to start a conversation with your board!

Here’s the link to Leading with Intent: 2017 National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices.

BoardSource is the recognized leader in nonprofit board leadership and supports, trains, and educates nonprofit leaders from across the country and throughout the world. With three decades of experience, BoardSource provides leaders with an extensive range of governance tools, resources, and research data to increase board effectiveness and strengthen organizational impact. It also serves as the national voice for inspired and effective board leadership. BoardSource is a 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, visit

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