An Assessment for Nonprofit Best Practices
(The questions below require a Yes or No answer. Each Yes
answer receives 2 points, a No answer receives a 0.)
Overall Score: ___________(of a possible 100)
Note: The score is not as important as demonstrating where an
organization needs to take action or make changes. The divisions in
bold are arbitrary benchmarks for effectiveness, which have circulated
for years without attribution. It’s a convenient way to categorize the
50 questions. Feel free to use this and send to others. Our only request
is the our firm, Resource Development Counsel (RDC), be credited. If
you would like assistance in working through these questions, contact
Robert Miss, Founder of RDC firstname.lastname@example.org www.rdcfunds.org
Mission is stated in 25 words or less.
1. _____ Is there a brief mission statement, easily repeated
by a board member or supporter?
2. _____ Does each program or service have a written
statement of purpose?
3._____ Is there a consistent practice of providing
presentations to the board regarding aspects
of programs and services?
4._____ Is there a written strategic plan which was
formulated in the last 3 years and has the
plan been reviewed in the last 6 months?
5._____ Was there an annual board/staff retreat conducted
in the last 12 months?
6._____ Are the articles of incorporation and the bylaws
available for public review?
7._____ Have the bylaws been updated in the past
five years? When, with what result?
8._____ Does the board meet on a fixed, regular basis?
9._____ Is an agenda prepared in advance of each board
meeting as a collaboration between
the executive director and board chair?
10.____ Is the board meeting agenda always circulated
to the board in advance?
11.____ Is there an organization chart?
12.____ Is there a basic flyer describing the mission,
services, achievements of the organization?
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13.____ Is there a Web site for the organization?
A printed annual report is produced.
14.____ Is there an audit committee?
15.____ Is there a conflict of interest statement
for board members?
16.____ Is the annual report circulated to donors and
17.____ Does the board have directors’ & officers’
18.____ Is there a finance committee of the board?
19.____ Did the board approve the current year’s annual
20.____ Did the board take responsibility for hiring
the current independent auditor?
21.____ Are the IRS Form 990 filings for the past three
years accessible for review by board members
and the public when requested?
Fifty-percent or more of gifts and grants come from
individuals. (The national average is approximately 85%.)
22.____ Is there a development committee of the board?
23.____ Is there a staff person in charge of fundraising?
24.____ Does the director of development have direct
access to the development committee?
25.____ Is there a written statement or case explaining
why people should support the organization?
26.____ Was there an annual fundraising plan prepared
for the current year?
27.____ Is there a system for recording donations and
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Board members are directly responsible
for the largest gifts from any source in the past year.
28.____ Were there board members directly responsible for
the largest gifts from any source in the last
29.____ Did every board member make a cash contribution
to the organization in the last fiscal year?
Net income from special events is 20 percent or less of
all other sources.
30.____ Is the income from fundraising events always
calculated as net of expenses?
31.____ Is the net income from fundraising events 20%
or less of all other sources?
Three foundations and three corporations have an
ongoing relationship with the organization.
32.____ Were there at least 3 corporations that had a
relationship with the organization last year
and carrying over into this year?
33.____ Were grants received from at least 3 private
foundations during this past year?
34.____ Is there a calculated overhead rate to be used
when applying for grants?
Every board member and every volunteer has a job
35.____ Is there a nominating committee operating on
an ongoing basis?
36.____ Is there a written procedure for inviting a new
member to the board?
37.____ Is there a general job description for board
38.____ Are there job descriptions for the board chair
and committee chairs, for volunteers?
39.____ Is there a document stating what expectations
there are for board members?
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Term limits are strictly observed by the board.
40.____ Are there board term limits?
41,____ Is there a diversity in age, gender, ethnicity,
and constituency represented on the board?
42.____ Is there a requirement to attend a set number
of board meetings per year?
43.____ Does the board perform an annual review of the
44.____ Is there a written emergency succession plan for
the executive director’s position?
Every board member, senior staff, and major donor has
toured the organization’s site or sites and has met
members of the constituency served.
45.____ Is there an orientation procedure for new board
members and new employees?
46.____ Is there an annual activity to determine the current
needs of the constituency served, such as
a consumer survey or focus groups?
47.____ Is there an annual summary which reports
the outcomes of the programs and
services of the organization?
Senior staff and board members serve on local and
regional committees related to the mission.
48.____ In the past 12 months has the organization
collaborated with another nonprofit
on a project benefiting the community?
49.____ Does the director of development belong to a
professional fundraising association?
50.____ Are funds allocated for staff training and
attendance at professional meetings?
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