Articles on Governance and Leadership in Purpose Driven Organisations.
The Handbook of Nonprofit Governance – Book Review
The Handbook of Nonprofit Governance, published by the American organisation Boardsource, is designed as a one-stop resource on governance for leaders and leadership teams of non-profit organisations. This book explores the value of governance in non-profit organisations and addresses the crucial roles, relationships, structures and practices involved in their leadership. The book is targeted chiefly at new or inexperienced board members and those with an academic interest in non-profit governance. As a comprehensive overview of a range of governance roles and issues more experienced directors might also find it a useful reference to keep on hand.
Board Culture: Is Your Board a Learning Space?
The Victorian Government is currently looking at changing its laws around the composition of the governing bodies of universities, removing designated positions for staff and students, and ensuring that such representatives can only be appointed if they have ‘the necessary skills’. Many not-for-profit organisations have designated positions on their boards for members, volunteers or consumer representatives. Faced with increasing pressures to have highly skilled and professional boards, organisations may be tempted to follow the Victorian Government’s lead and abandon commitments to representation and inclusion.
Importance of Good Governance for CEOs
Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Boards enjoy a unique relationship, one that is built on key elements such as trust, professional integrity and honesty. The very survival of a CEO often comes down to their relationship with the Board. In this case study I will be emphasising five governance issues, governance learnings and possible governance tools and resources available to assist Boards and CEOs. In September 2008 the Board of an aged care organisation in far North Queensland, employing over 200 staff and one of the major employers in the town, determined that the relationship with the then CEO had deteriorated to the point where in their view termination was the only option.
Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards – Book Review
Richard T. Ingram’s Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards, Second Edition (2008) is a handy manual on the basics of board governance. The text is the first publication in the popular Governance Series produced by Board Source. The series is authored by a range of writers with experience in the non-profit sphere and is designed as a point of entry to non-profit boards and a range of topics that surround effective governance.
The Importance of Getting Your Agendas and Minutes Right
At a board meeting on 15 February 2001, the directors of James Hardie approved an announcement to the ASX about a corporate restructure. The restructure included the establishment of a foundation which would handle all asbestos-related claims against James Hardie. The next day, the announcement was released and it stated that the foundation would be “fully funded” to meet the claims. However, it later became apparent that the foundation was not fully funded.
Avoiding Unspoken Issues – Part 2
In the first article of this series I offered an ad hoc research sample from the Better Boards Conference which suggested that we may all have an elephant in the board room that we are not prepared to discuss, or may lack the tools to address. I also outlined some common themes of unspoken issues. In the second article in this series, I will discuss some general tactics for avoiding unspoken issues undermining board performance.
Driven by Purpose
Driven by Purpose: Charities that make the difference (2012) is a new book from Stephen Judd, Anne Robinson and Felicity Errington that considers the history of non-profit organisations in Australia and advocates the value of ensuring organisations are purpose-driven. The book presents an excellent potted history of the charity sector in Australia and considers pertinent questions such as Why have charities? What’s the big issue about legal definitions? and Why does Australia have such a significant charity sector?
Non-Profits and Trademarks: The Power of the Brand
How significant is the good name, image and branding of your non-profit organisation? Can your organisation prevent others trading off of its reputation? For most not-for-profits (NFPs), their brand and associated reputation is their most important asset. As such, how can NFPs protect this valuable asset? The answer is simple: by registering a trademark_*. A Leading NFP NFPs, like other corporations, benefit from strong branding and trademark protection. For example, research by the Salvation Army reveals that their Red Shield logo is recognised by 92 per cent of the Australian public1.
Dealing with Unspoken Issues at Board Level – Part 1
Q: How to do you know when you have passed an elephant? A: You cannot get the toilet seat back down. (Anon children’s joke) At the Better Boards Conference my presentation focussed on dealing with unspoken issues at the board level. Everyone was asked to identify if they had unspoken issues. An overwhelming majority said they definitely had unspoken issues that weakened the board and the remainder thought that they might have them.
The Book of the Board
David Fishel’s The Book of the Board: Effective governance for non-profit organisations, Second Edition (2008) is a comprehensive manual on all things relating to non-profit boards. The Book of the Board is an ideal introduction to the intricacies of board membership for those who are new to the role but it will also be equally valuable to veteran board members looking to corroborate their ideas or consolidate their expertise. Fishel seeks to empower board members to contribute to their organisation and assist them in navigating some of the challenges they may face in a non-profit governance role.