What is the purpose of the Governance Committee?

What is the purpose of the Governance Committee?

This is a question we answer a lot. BoardSource© now recommends that every board have a minimum of two committees: finance and governance. But many of our boards struggle with what the Governance Committee should be doing.

The Governance Committee is a committee of the board, by the board and for the board. Its purpose is to ensure that the board is doing its work effectively (Gail Perry, MBA, CFRE, principal, Gail Perry Associates, The Care and Feeding of the Your Board: A Checklist for a Top-Level Board Governance Committee).

So what does the Governance Committee do?

  • Tracks board skill sets and develop the “dream team” board profile. We recommend creating and maintaining a Board Skills Grid for the purpose of tracking skills, capabilities, connections, and other desirable characteristics for current board members and board prospects.

  • Enlist new board members. Monitor who is on the board, their terms and expiration, as well as their satisfaction and desire to continue board service. The committee also ensures that all new board members understand their role and sign on to a clear set of expectations. See our Sample Board Job Description.

  • Identify and develop potential board members. The committee works with the whole board to generate a prospect list, cultivate potential members,

  • Conduct a bi-annual Board Self-Assessment and create a board development plan based on the issues that get surfaced. Board assessment includes evaluation of how the board as a whole is functioning, and how the individual board member feels they are functioning. Its handy to conduct the assessment prior to a board retreat so the results can be discussed by the board as a whole.

  • Monitor board meetings to ensure they are effective and efficient. The Governance Committee ensures that board members are fully engaged and actively involved in work that is meaningful to them and to the organization. One way the Governance Committee can work on this is through the implementation of a Board Meeting Evaluation.

  • Enforce term limits. The Governance Committee is in charge of ensuring healthy rotation on and off the board.


This information is taken from a nifty BoardSource tool you can see here and share with your board.

If you will be at the AFP Statewide Conference in July, look for our workshop on the Board-CEO Partnership. We’d love to see you Carefree!

Stay cool,

Laura Headshot 2014