Nonprofit CEO Assessment Best Practices

There is no escaping the process of evaluation in the workforce. It doesn’t matter how far up the corporate ladder you climb, or how secure you feel in your professional position. Nonprofit assessment is no different, but there are some special points to consider.

Why Do a Nonprofit CEO Assessment?

The reality is that everyone needs feedback and review to continue growing in their field. Often, the more responsibility you hold in an organization, the more public that evaluation process becomes. This is the case with evaluations and performance assessments for nonprofit leaders. Many within the nonprofit system may undergo a highly private review process. Conversely, the CEO is typically engaged in an evaluation by the entire executive board. When you have a group of any size considering professional performance, it’s important to have a predetermined set of parameters and shared language. The goal is to make the review process as objective, fair, and valuable as possible. (RELATED: Procedure for Board Member Leave of Absence )

The Evaluation Process

Performance evaluation must follow a predetermined set of guidelines, which was included in the employee contract. Ideally, there is no disparity between expectations. These guidelines should outline how and when the performance evaluation will be completed, what criteria the performance will evaluate, and how the findings will be utilized for professional growth. This should all take into consideration the needs of the nonprofit organization as well as the individual.

nonprofit ceo assessment

Most corporate structures conduct evaluations annually. Sometimes there is more frequent evaluation for those who need additional support or who have not been in the field very long. It is also up to the board how the evaluation will take place. This may include:

  • A self-evaluation process
  • Reflection reports on personal performance and growth plans
  • Reports collected from staff, customers, clients, funders, or other partners
  • Intermittent observations conducted by the board members

What to Include in the Assessment

Once the parameters of the evaluation are set, it is important to predetermine what factors are going to be assessed. These attributes should remain consistent across the evaluations of all company personnel. (RELATED: How and When to Hire Nonprofit Consultants )

The CEO of a nonprofit organization is responsible for so many different factors of day to day management, that it can be overwhelming to consider what aspects of the individual’s performance should be in the assessment. This is something that the board needs to decide on prior to the beginning of the observation cycle. Factors that ought to be considered in a nonprofit CEO assessment include:

  • Ability to properly manage staff and make administrative choices in the best interest of the nonprofit organization
  • Quality of problem-solving and decision-making skills, including timeliness and professionalism of those choices
  • Leadership of the company, including public presentation of company interests and personal leadership strategies
  • Relationship and rapport building with employees, with company partners, with community partners, and with the board themselves
  • Ability to develop and follow an action plan, including project-based and budget-based planning

RELATED: Wake-Up Call: A Study of Nonprofit Leadership in the US

A Tool for Long-term Success

The goal of a performance assessment is not to trap the employee into being “found out” for any present poor habits. Instead, it should address current skills and identify areas for growth. Obviously, we want the individual and the company to benefit as a result. Consistent and regular assessment of all members of the nonprofit team is the only way to ensure that the organization is managed as efficiently as possible. Using performance evaluations as a means to continue conversations about company goals and growth is a great way to develop action plans and ensure that your nonprofit is working in the best interest of those you hope to serve.

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