For Senior Living Non-Profits, Not All Boards Are Equal

Senior living communities are not alike when it comes to board activities, according to a recent survey released by specialty investment bank Ziegler.

Ziegler’s December CFO Hotline poll covered board meetings and activities, measuring how nearly 260 not-for-profit senior living organizations from around the country manage board-related activities.

The survey looked at both single- and multi-site organizations, finding that 62% of multi-site organizations maintain only a corporate board only. For the 37% of organizations that had both a corporate board and local boards, the majority of decision-making power remained with the corporate board.


When it came to how often boards met, the results varied, with nearly four out of 10 saying they met on a quarterly basis. Multi-site organizations were much more likely to hold quarterly meetings than single-site organizations.

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The overwhelming majority—94%—did not compensate board members, excluding reimbursement for travel, trainings, etc. In fact, the average percentage of budgets allocated toward board activities was just 0.37%. Many participants in the study also noted they spend $0 on board activities. Those with the largest budget allocations for board activities also compensated members.

However, many organizations did hold board retreats annually or every few years. About 15% of companies said they do not have board retreats or have not held one in many years.


Surprisingly, half of not-for-profit organizations had local residents on their boards, indicating that the industry has a clear divide in this approach.

The poll also looked at whether board members are involved with industry conferences or trainings.

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Just 22% of organizations indicated that their board chair would attend industry conferences “always” or “often.” By comparison, only 14% of non-chair board members attended industry conferences “always” or “often,” according to the survey.

Written by Amy Baxter

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