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The Better Boards Newsletter:
Focuses on Governance & Leadership in not-for-profit organisations in Australia and New Zealand.
Features a wide range of educational, informative and practical articles and tools focusing on the many and varied aspects of leading and governing a not-for-profit organisation.
Aims to provide a quality platform for ideas, innovation and debate.
Is considered by many leaders from the not-for-profit sector to be a must-have resource for every chief executive officer and board member of an NGO, community, not-for-profit, charity or for-purpose organisation.
Our latest articles on Governance and Leadership in Purpose Driven Organisations.
How Do Australians View the Leadership and Governance of the Charity Sector
Charities are at the heart of social ecosystems and play a vital role in building and sustaining flourishing communities. Yet, charities face several interlocking challenges that have only become more complex in a post-pandemic environment. In this context, charities are grappling with increased demand for services, financial sustainability, increasing job complexity, a declining volunteer workforce and the need to re-establish relationships with donors, all in the context of sustained impacts on the mental health, well-being and resilience of charity employees and leaders.
School Governance 101
Schools face a number of challenges — and so do the boards that govern them. While concern about some of these challenges has fluctuated since 2014, high salary costs and school fees as well as compliance issues have remained top priorities for governors for almost a decade. Twelve key characteristics of effective school boards define healthy school governance and present opportunities to improve at every turn. By adopting most or all of these characteristics, schools can mitigate many of the issues they face today.
Navigating NFP Mergers: A Transfer of Business or Control
Mergers between not-for-profit (NFP) organisations are becoming increasingly common due to the current challenging economic and regulatory landscape. For some, it can provide an opportunity to better serve communities. For others, it’s the sole option for survival. Structuring a merger to suit the needs of the organisation is paramount. Merger implementation can have significant consequences for the entities involved, such as tax or funding implications. This article explores what a NFP merger is, the most common options to structure a merger and some tips and tricks to set your merger up for success.
Preventing and De-escalating NFP Dysfunction: The Role of the Chair
A recurring and often distressed request we hear from NFP chairs and board members is “how to prevent and de-escalate dysfunction”. If only a single answer was big enough to accommodate the range of human values, emotions and agendas one might see expressed by members of an NFP board!1 In this article I discuss some principles that might assist an NFP chair to help prevent dysfunction within the NFP. I do not pretend to have all the answers.
Strengthening Risk Management at the Board Table
I see lots of risk registers and risk related documents. Some are great and really help board members and executive teams identify, manage and report on the “effect of uncertainty on objectives” (as defined in AS ISO 31000:2018) but many could be strengthened. Ultimately, risk management is a strategic process – looking forward to explore what may happen in the future that will assist or hinder your organisation in achieving its purpose and goals.
Getting Basic Membership Rights Right
The existence of many member-based organisations relies on maintenance of the organisation’s good reputation. What is often overlooked is the need for such organisations to respect the reputation of their members.1 This case note stands as a reminder to committees to know their constitution and respect basic membership rights, especially when navigating a decision as critical as changing strategic direction. Summary In 2022, a case was heard in the Melbourne’s Magistrates Court by a claim under the oppressive conduct provisions of the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012 (Vic) (“AIR Act”).
Cyber Security 1.0.1 For Boards
The traditional concept of IT Disaster Recovery (DR), i.e. the solution where an organisation sets up an alternate site where servers, applications and data can be used in case the primary data centre burns down, floods, loses power or otherwise fails, needs to be re-thought completely due to two major developments. The first one is Cloud computing, resulting in the IT DR responsibility seemingly being transferred to the shoulders of an external supplier.
Integrated Leadership – Solving complex problems with the power of many
How to solve complex problems with integrated leadership teams that harness the power of many. The world is an increasingly complex place to navigate, especially in the stakeholder heavy NFP space. But that is your job. Our leaders are busier than they have ever been. The problems they face require people with diverse skill sets and perspectives to work together to solve. Talent alone is not enough. There is a lot of noise (especially in the NFP sector) about ‘diversity’.
The Intersection of Risk, Culture and Crisis and at What Price
Much is said and written about personal, brand and company reputations, but when all is said and done reputation rests on three pillars: context, stakeholders, and culture. Context because what happens around a business from a government, social, environment and economic perspective dictates the level of risk associated with your operations and your business decisions. What was right or acceptable 20 years ago may not be right today. What is right according to the letter of the law may not be perceived as right by the society in which you operate.
Constitutions – The Foundations of Good Governance
Constitutions are crucial documents. At a national level, they describe how a country is governed. In democracies Prime Ministers and Presidents are elected to office following the processes described in a nation’s constitution. The Australian parliament states that the “national constitution is a set of rules for governing a country”. Similarly, constitutions lie at the heart of associations and charities and provide their rules. Significantly, they define who the members are and the process by which the organisation is run and elects its leadership.