Friday, September 13, 2013

What the BoardSource Governance Index Says About Small vs. Large Nonprofits

In November 2012 BoardSource issued its most recent Nonprofit Governance Index and I wrote two blog articles about the report as I have done in the past.  My articles on this topic are always popular – and enduring long after they are published.  This year's report included 1341 responses and is quite extensive.  

Download the whole 2012 Nonprofit Governance Report at - Click Here

Today I am discussing the comparison data of small, medium and large nonprofits. BoardSource calls this "Comparative Board Intelligence."  Sounds intelligent - doesn't it? Well it has lots of data which can definitely be used intelligently so I think it is a good title for the information.  On the very last
page of this report there is a comparison of key variables by size of organizational budget.  The groups are:
                                                        Annual Budget Size                       Sample Size
Small                                                    Under $1M                                       416
Medium                                               $1m - $9.9M                                    647
Large                                                     $10M or More                                 277

Some variables are pretty much the same across the board and there is a great variance with others.  Here are some of the highlights that caught my attention:

Large boards have more members than smaller ones (14 versus 19)

Small boards have better gender diversity  but a more complicated racial diversity profile
   Female Board members:     51% -small, 45%-medium, 37%-large
   Non-white Board members:    82% - 83% across the board
   All white Boards:    36% for small organizations versus 28% for large ones.  (I found both of these figures astonishing.  Really?  In 2012? )
The age profile difference was the biggest surprise.  Most board members are 40 - 64 years old for all size boards, but take a look at this difference at either end:

Small nonprofits literally have twice the percent Board members under 40 (18%) as large ones (9%).  This is one area that small organization boards are way ahead of larger ones.

Let's take a look at where Boards are committing their time on committees.  Some interesting differences here too....

 Large organization Boards are much more committed to audit and finance responsibilities as Board members than small organization Boards.  A big surprise to me me is that a small nonprofit board is more likely to have a fundraising committee.  But I think this is due to frequently having small or no dedicated staff for fundraising at the under $1 Million budget.

Small organizations are improving dramatically with having accountability policies for conflict of interest, whistle blower and document retention hovering near 80% versus over 90% for large organizations.  The requirement to report  this information on the 990 has clearly influenced nonprofit Boards to adopt accountability policies.

The BoardSource Index is an excellent resource for nonprofits to measure  how they are doing in key areas versus their peers.  This is hard data and if you are far behind in certain areas you may identify some basic things that you want to work on.  The report can provide a springboard to action.

My November 2012 Article on the 2012 BoardSource Governance Index                                                                                                                                                                                           

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