Governance Tools for Childcare Centers


Practical how-to information related to governance.

Micro-managing? Rubber stamping? To help your board understand its roles and responsibilities, start with a Sample Board Job Description and Board Officer Descriptions . Will any warm body do? To build as strong a board as possible, go to Board Composition Matrix , Board Nominating Process , and Identifying Board Prospects . Orienting new members? Here are items to include in your Board Manual . Wondering how best to plan and evaluate? See Board Role in Strategic Planning , Board Survey , and CEO Evaluation . You may download and use any of the tools in this section for your center.

Sample Board Job Description

The board of directors is charged with the oversight and governance of your organization as a nonprofit (see Board Roles and Responsibilities). While articles of incorporation and bylaws outline the governance structure and parameters within which the board must legally function, it is also helpful to create a job description for board members to define expectations for board participation.

The following sample board job description may be customized to meet the specific needs of your center.

Download Sample Board Job Description

Board Officers Job Descriptions

The following descriptions outline critical board leadership roles: chair, vice-chair, secretary and treasurer.

Download Board Officers Job Descriptions

Board Nominating Process

Not sure how to go about identifying new members for your board of directors? The following tool outlines basic action steps to take to improve your nominating process.

Download Board Nominating Process

Board Composition Matrix

Some nonprofit founders are initially inclined to form the organization’s requisite board of directors from a small pool of friends, clients and other loyal supporters. While this impulse is understandable, an effective board will eventually have broad and diverse representation among its members with expertise in several key areas, including finance, human resources, legal, marketing and early care and education.

The following tool may be customized to evaluate the mix of your current board of directors and help identify the types of people most strategic to recruit as new members (see Identifying Board Prospects ).

Download Board Composition Matrix

Identifying Board Prospects

Once you have identified the ideal board composition for your center (see Board Composition Matrix), you are ready to recruit new members to fill in any particular gaps in your board mix.

Finding the right people can be a challenging but rewarding task. The following chart may be used by your entire board and/or nominating committee to brainstorm how best to recruit and involve new board members.

Download Identifying Board Prospects

Board Manual

Orientation is an important process to help new board members become familiar with your organization and how the board functions. In addition to meeting with the board president and the organization’s executive director or senior staff person, a written board manual provides key pieces of information for board members.

Following is a sample index of items to include in your center’s board manual.

Download Sample Board Manual Index

Board Role in Strategic Planning

Mission is the reason your organization exists. Planning is the process of figuring out how you’re going to achieve that mission.

The board of directors plays a major role in strategic planning. Working together with staff, clients, funders and other constituents, the board should oversee a regular process of evaluation and planning for the future (see also Business Planning and Center Evaluation ).

Strategic planning looks outward, inward and forward. Here are key questions for your board to consider in your planning process.

Download Board Role in Strategic Planning

Board Survey

Effective boards regularly evaluate their own performance. The following survey can be used by your board as a self-assessment tool.

To what extent do board members agree with each other in their responses? In what ways can the board be strengthened?

Download Board Survey

CEO Evaluation

A critical function of a nonprofit board of directors is to evaluate the performance of the organization’s executive director or lead staff person. Shortly after a director is hired, the board should work with her/him to establish professional and organizational goals for the coming year. This, then, forms the basis for that individual’s annual review. To what extent were those goals met? What resources are needed to achieve objectives for the coming year?

Evaluations should be seen as a mutual conversation, not one-sided tools. How does the executive director rate her or his own performance? In what specific ways can the board more effectively support the executive director? These are important building blocks in strengthening the relationship between the board and executive director.

While the entire board should be involved in evaluating the executive director’s performance (typically in an executive session), a smaller group or representatives of the board’s personnel committee should share the results with the executive director, and likewise relay any feedback from the executive director to the full board.

The following tool can be customized by your board to identify and rate core competencies and summarize key professional and organizational goals.

Download CEO Evaluation


Disclaimer: Materials and links provided by First Children’s Finance on this website do not constitute legal, accounting, tax or finance advice or professional services. Readers seeking professional advice about specific aspects of their business should consult a member of our staff or other qualified professional.