Articles on Governance and Leadership in Purpose Driven Organisations.
Conducting Panel Interviews
A short guide to putting together and conducting a panel interview for selecting a new chief executive officer for a non-profit organisation. Selecting the Panel Members In contrast to the private sector, not-for-profit organisations have a predilection for interviewing candidates through panels, which may consist of several (or sometimes even more!) stakeholders. This is especially true where federated organisations are selecting Chief Executive Officers, although the preference is for the Board to appoint a sub-committee of say three Directors, usually including the Chair and sometimes bringing in an independent person.
Is The iPad Invited To Your Board Meeting?
The arrival of the iPad at board meetings is welcomed by many. Its ability to quickly distribute documents, make annotations and generally support meetings in paperless format (usually via a secure board portal) represents undeniable savings in time, money and environmental costs, not to mention the convenience of being able to quickly distribute those last minute additions to the agenda. The iPad even has its own special board meeting application. So why has ANZ banned iPads in board meetings?
Board culture: breaking bread and barriers
In our previous article, we wrote about developing a culture of learning and continual improvement on boards. An important part of encouraging the kind of openness and questioning that’s required for a learning culture is ensuring that the board is a ‘safe space’. Sadly, there are many boards in the community sector that don’t really feel that safe for new members. Whether it’s different factions disagreeing and struggling for power, or a director who has been on the board for decades and passionately disagrees with any attempts to change direction, or a hostile relationship between the board and the executive director, the fact is that boards are teams of people, and teams often have difficult dynamics.
What Makes An Effective Board Member?
The job of an effective board (with the CEO) is to set strategic directionand determine goals for the organisation. Their job is also to ensure that the organisation is run according to its constitution, complies with relevant law and is managed in a financially prudent way. Big Picture Thinking Think about your reason for becoming a board member. Many board members of not for profit organisations get onto the board because there is something about the work of the organisation that they want to influence.
To Pay or Not To Pay? Board Remuneration
Board remuneration is a tricky conundrum for many not-for-profit organisations. Michael Goldsworthy shares a framework that all directors considering this option, need to consider. To pay or not to pay? This is a defining question that increasing numbers of directors of community businesses – or not-for-profits – are thinking about and discussing as boards, as the intensity of risk and responsibility is balanced against the rewards (see the ‘Triple R’ model below).
Liabilities For Board Members Under The Fair Work Act
One of the legacies of the WorkChoices era is a well resourced and bureaucratically motivated workplace “cop on the beat” – the Fair Work Ombudsman. The combination of a regulator with a brief to maintain a tough public profile, the financial resources to back that up and supportive legislation has had the practical result of creating a new range of personal liabilities for directors and board members. Traditionally, an employer was liable for the conduct of its board or senior managers towards its employees, whether the employer was a private company, not for profit association or a government agency.
Governance Training for Non-Profit Boards
Governance is a leadership process, and to function effectively, individual board members and boards as a whole, should have a clear understanding not only of their governance roles and responsibilities but also how to practically and correctly apply them within a leadership framework or context. Thus regular governance training is essential for non-profit boards. Taking on a role as a board or committee member can sound relatively straight forward, but it could be interesting to note how many members of your board can clearly and concisely describe their actual governance roles and responsibilities.
Political Lobbying and Your Charitable Status
Almost a year to the day after the Word Investments case, the ATO has suffered another loss in the High Court of Australia. This time, in the case of Aid/Watch Incorporated v Commissioner of Taxation, the High Court found that Aid/Watch is a charitable institution despite the fact that its activities are mainly directed at influencing government decisions i.e., lobbying. The High Court’s decision is welcome news to the many not for profit organisations that lobby government as a means of achieving their charitable objectives.
NFP Crisis Management – Well Whadya Know
I was called in recently by a small not for profit CEO to help out with what we lawyers call some ‘crisis management’. The organization was being pursued by Fair Work Australia for some breaches of the new workplace laws. It was apparent to me that the problem arose not because they were trying to rip off their staff but its genesis lay in a simple malaise, ignorance – the CEO simply didn’t know about the particular law that they had breached.
Application of Federal Workplace Laws To Nonprofits
As a result of the referral of power by most States to the Commonwealth over industrial matters as of 1 January 2010, most not for profit organisations are now covered by Federal workplace laws. Until this referral took place, the assumption of many not for profit organisations is likely to have been that they were not covered by the Federal workplace laws because they were not “trading” or “constitutional” corporations.