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Board Experience Survey by Leading Edge

The Board Experience Survey leverages the power of data to level up your organization’s board performance and culture.

Leading Edge helps Jewish nonprofits improve their workplace culture and leadership so that they can better achieve their missions. Since 2016, one of the ways we’ve done that is with survey tools, and we are looking forward to leveraging one of core and tested methodologies with the board — a critical lever of change.

The Board Experience Survey (BES) is a pilot project that consists of a survey, access to data insights, and consultation support to take action on the learnings that emerge. Research shows that regular board assessment, no less than every two years, can be a critical lever to improve board effectiveness, board member experience, and the future growth of the board. The Board Experience Survey is being offered to a select group of organizations to benefit those participating and to provide Leading Edge with valuable insights so that we might scale this offering in the future.

Your survey experience, in brief
  • By June 3: Register — Review the Memorandum of Understanding and commit to participating.
  • By June 28: Submit all board member information — Provide Leading Edge with basic information about your organization and your board, and whom to survey. Leading Edge will provide the Survey Liaison Lead (more information below) with the materials to complete following the submission of the Memorandum of Understanding.
  • June to September: Inform your board and get them excited to participate. Leading Edge will provide you with templates and resources.
  • September 16 to October 2*: Survey administered — Leading Edge sends your board the survey by email, which will be on the Culture Amp Platform. 
    *Fall Jewish Holidays: October 2 to 25
  • On October 28: Access your data — Designated board leaders get your data in a powerful, interactive platform.
  • November 2024 to February 2025: Consultation Support — Leading Edge offers up to five hours of pro bono consultation to help you interpret your data and take action.
  • At least one call should be completed by December 2, 2024.
  • At least one call should be designated for the board chair.

Your Questions Answered

What is the pilot Board Experience Survey?

The Board Experience Survey provides insight into the board experience from the perspective of board members. From our previous CEO Surveys, Leading Edge has learned a lot about CEOs’ experiences of their boards’ cultures and performance. This new survey tool will gather powerful new data directly from board members themselves. This survey’s user experience is similar to Leading Edge’s existing suite of survey offerings, which use the Culture Amp platform. 

The Board Experience Survey measures favorability around a set of carefully chosen questions, focused on factors critical to board experience and effectiveness, including fulfillment of core board responsibilities, board culture, partnership with executive leaders, and accountability around policies and practices of leading places to serve.

Why should my organization participate? What value can we expect from assessing the board in this way?

Research shows that regular board assessments can be a critical lever to improve board effectiveness, board member experience, and the future growth of the board.

Organizations who assess their boards no less than every two years rate them higher across all performance markers than organizations who assess themselves less frequently. This practice of self-examination provides boards and senior professional leadership with a deep understanding of the strengths and growth areas for a board and establishes benchmarks to evaluate future performance. Insights from the data help frame strategic goal setting and enhance the board-professional partnership.

Regular board assessment also supports increased board engagement and accountability, both for individuals and the collective, around the board’s roles, responsibilities, and expectations. It can also be a vital resource for the board member pipeline, illuminating board strengths to highlight and priority areas for recruitment.

What is the cost to my organization?

Thanks to our philanthropic supporters, everything about the pilot Board Experience Survey will come at no cost to your organization.

What organizations are eligible to participate?

For the purpose of the pilot, a select group of organizations has been invited to participate. These organizations must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Board has no more than fifty board members who will be invited to participate in the survey. Organizations will receive results if at least 75% of invited respondents complete the survey. 
  • Organization participated in the 2023 Employee Experience and CEO Surveys. 
  • Organization commits to participate in a (separate) Leading Edge employee survey in 2024 (i.e., Focused Engagement Survey or a Pulse Survey).
  • CEO (or other senior most professional leader of any title) has been in their role at least one (1) year as of September 2024.
  • Board Chair has been in their role at least six (6) months as of September 2024.

Additionally, eligible organizations:

  • Are based in North America. 
  • Affirm that they are a Jewish organization, whatever that means to them.
  • Are a recognized nonprofit according to the tax laws of their resident country or have a fiscal agent that is a recognized nonprofit according to the tax laws of their resident country. 
  • Have been in existence for at least three years. 

In addition to the stated criteria, consider your board's readiness for this kind of experience, including:

  • History of self-assessment and receptiveness to feedback.
  • Ability to speak openly about the board’s work and ways to improve.
  • Executive and board’s leadership commitment to board success.

Organizations that have recently gone through a leadership transition or are in a moment of significant organizational change that is not captured in the official eligibility criteria below — e.g., a financial crisis, an important strategic planning process, etc. — may not want to participate during this pilot round of the survey tool.

What do we receive if we participate?
  • A survey tool with a familiar user experience to Leading Edge’s suite of surveys
  • Access to your organization’s data via Culture Amp, the survey platform. 
    Note: data will only be available if 75%, or more, of board members complete the survey. The results will only be shared with those who are specifically designated by your organization to have access to it.
  • Up to five (5) hours of pro bono board governance consultative support to interpret the data and develop an action plan based on the key insights from the survey
  • Templates and talking points to share with your board throughout the survey process
What is required of participating organizations?

Organizational leadership, including the CEO and Board Chair, will commit to the success of the survey administration, including encouraging board participation.

  • All active board members as of September 1, 2024, must be invited to participate, and a unique email address for each board member must be submitted in order to administer the survey.
  • Both the CEO and Board Chair must commit to taking the survey.
  • Organizations must designate a liaison team, composed of one senior staff person who works closely with the board (e.g. CEO, COO, Head of Development, etc.) to serve as your Survey Liaison Lead and partner with Leading Edge to support a smooth user experience, and at least one board leader. All information related to survey administration will be sent to the Survey Liaison Lead who should pass along the information to the rest of the Survey Liaison team.

Participating organizations commit to sharing feedback (whether via short form or interview)with Leading Edge about the experience in the pilot.

Why do we need to participate in an employee survey?

Organizations who participate in the Board Experience Survey must take part in an employee survey in 2024. We strongly encourage that organizations participate in the Focused Engagement Survey to fulfill this requirement. The results of both surveys will complement one another and provide your organization’s leadership with a holistic perspective. If your organization does not plan to participate in the Focused Engagement Survey, please be in touch with us to discuss your participation, including planning a time to administer a Pulse Survey by October 2, 2024.

What are the key dates to keep in mind as we consider participation?

June 3: Registration due date

By this date, review and sign a Memorandum of Understanding outlining the expectations for participation, which will include the identification of a core liaison team consisting of at least one staff member and one board member.*

*We strongly encourage the CEO and board chair to be the liaison team, but are open to alternatives.

June 28: Intake Form and Board Member Information Submission due date

By this date, submit your intake form, which provides general information about your organization and board, and the Board Member Information Sheet. This spreadsheet will ask for the names and unique email addresses of each board member. 

  • All members of the board who are active as of September 1, 2024, should all be invited to participate in the survey. 
  • Organizations will receive results as long as more than 75% of your board completes the survey. Note that individual board chair and CEO responses will not be visible to anyone and will only be reported as part of an aggregate set. More on Leading Edge’s approach to confidentiality is below.

September 16 to October 2: Survey administered

Board members will receive a unique link to the survey and automated email reminders to complete the survey by October 2, 2024. 

Due to the High Holidays, the October 2 deadline will be firm. Leading Edge will not be able to extend the deadline due to low participation rates. In the event that an organization’s response rates are low, Leading Edge will provide template email reminders to support greater participation.

October 28: Results access

Survey results will be shared with staff and board members identified by the liaisons to have access to the survey data. Data will be available in alignment with our confidentiality thresholds. More on that below.

November to December: Consultation Support

Organizations will be matched with a board governance consultant to analyze their data and develop an action plan. Each organization will receive up to 5 hours of pro bono consultative support, with one hour designated specifically for the board chair. The first consultation call must be completed by December 2. All remaining hours must be completed by February 28, 2025.

How does Leading Edge ensure confidentiality of responses and data?

Leading Edge guarantees the confidentiality of all organizations and board members. Nobody outside your organization will see your data, and your organization’s leaders will not have access to individual responses or know who has completed the survey. Leading Edge and our survey platform, Culture Amp, will protect this information through a set of safeguards and security protocols. The results will be reported to designated organizational leaders as part of the organization's overall data. Though data will be connected to specific respondent types (i.e., your CEO or other executive leader of any title and your board chair), their responses will not be visible individually. Any data that we share with the public (such as in reports like this one) will only be in the aggregate across many organizations and will adhere to strict confidentiality thresholds.

I still have questions. Who can I talk to about the survey?

You can reach out to our team at boards@leadingedge.org. We’re happy to help!


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