BoardWalk Templates and Tools

Practical guides to support your efforts

In our work with clients, we have developed or adapted several templates to help you advance excellence in your own boardroom. Open a document by clicking on its underlined title. Documents will automatically open in Adobe Reader, a free copy of which can be downloaded by clicking here.

12 Steps to a Successful Search (Pamphlet)

Because CEO turnover is generally quite low in a well-run organization, many board members faced with recruiting a CEO or Executive Director are doing so for the first time. We developed this template and the accompanying text to highlight the key steps in what will be most boards' biggest and most lasting contribution to their organizations' success: recruitment of a CEO capable of realizing the organization's most compelling aspirations. The write-up nearby combines three articles from recent issues of our smorgasBoardSM newsletters, each of which addressed four of the steps in the search process. In total, this is one of our most-requested pieces.
Of course, you're always welcome to call us for more information!

Accountability Checklist (Pamphlet)

Sarbanes-Oxley has many nonprofit boards reexamining their approaches to governance. In the summer of 2005, Independent Sector put together this Checklist of Accountability to help boards enhance transparency as they strengthen their governance practices. It won't give you all the answers, but it does frame many of the key questions.

Board & Committee Meeting Evaluation Form (Template)

A short-form board & committee meeting evaluation template. If you use this or something like it at every official gathering of the board or its committees, you will begin to focus everyone's attention on the substantive issues, and you'll get real-time feedback that will make future meetings more rewarding. The form's very simplicity makes it easy to complete, and it is not threatening to anyone.

Board Expectations

If board members are unclear about what's expected of them, they can hardly be faulted for not meeting those expectations. Here's a compilation derived from board commitment letters of several nonprofits and foundations (and we'd welcome the opportunity to update the sample based on your experience).

Five questions every candidate should ask

Preparing to meet with a search committee? Here are five questions we think every candidate should ask.

Five questions every board should ask

Reams of writing notwithstanding, our experience suggests there are five simple questions every board--and every board member--should ask, early and often. The answers can be transformational.

Five questions every search committee should ask—of its candidates

Lists of potential interview questions abound, and everyone has their favorites. From our work with clients and candidates, here are five simple questions search committee should never overlook.

Five questions every search committee should ask—of itself

As your search committee coalesces around its vision for your next CEO, here are five questions your best candidates will expect you to have addressed.

Has Your Organization Outgrown Its Board?

Published in slightly different form by BoardSource, the national nonprofit focused on board governance, and updated in the fall of 2008, this article by BoardWalk's Sam Pettway asks 10 basic questions to prompt an examination of the fit between your organization's mission and its current board.

Successful Successions: A BoardWalk Guide

Faced with a succession challenge on your board or leadership team? This annotated 12-step guide will make the task easier.

The Board's Evolving Role: From Management to Governance (Template)

A board's proper role changes as an organization matures, but in every case the role should be a purposeful one. This template was designed to help boards decide on the proper allocation of responsibilities, today and in the future, given the organization's specific situation. The template may appear a bit daunting, but highlighting the differences in board members' role expectations and comparing them with the CEO's can be enormously enlightening.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Board (Template)

A clear & concise tool to assess the condition of your board. Adapted from Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Field Guide for Leaders, Managers and Facilitators, by Patrick Lencioni.