The concept of governance focusses on the structures and process which ensure an organisation is accountable and transparent. There are elements of stability, equity and inclusivity, participation, responsiveness and following the rule of law.
Good governance is at the heart of any successful organisation. It can broadly be described as the system by which an organisation is controlled and operates as well as the mechanisms by which those organisations and the individuals involved in decision-making are held to account.
Why does governance matter?
Not for profit groups and charities have rules by which they must adhere to maintain that organisational status. Members of the public have expectations around how those organisations will be run and how decisions will be made.
Where to go if you need resources and information about governance for not for profits in Australia?
Office of Fair Trading
The Queensland Government Office of Fair Trading has a bunch of useful resources for those wanting to start not for profits as well as those who are new to committees (and of course those who’ve been doing it for years). On this website, you can access information on how to run an incorporated associationas well as useful fact sheets on topics such aswhat a committee doesand who can be on a committee. You can also find out what makes up the model rules, financial responsibilities and how to close down an association.
Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission
The Australian Charities and Not for profits Commissions regulates the voluntary sector in Australia, including charities and other not for profits. There are approximately 56,000 organisations registered with the ACNC. On their website, there’s a whole section on guidance and toolsfor not for profits which includes podcasts, webinars and factsheets.
The ACNC has a useful fact sheet on charity money mythswhich set straight some of the misconceptions around operating as a not for profit in Australia and they also have a useful document that sets out the Commission’s governance standards.
Other useful resources:
- Principles and Guidance for not for profits(Australian Institute of Company Directors)
- Damn Good Advice for Board Members: 25 questions a not for profit board member needs to ask about the finances (Our Community)
- Governance and legal duties of office holders (Not For Profit Law)
- Introduction to the board member rolefor new board members (Not for profit law)
- Governance foundations(Governance Institute of Australia)
- Types of not for profit organisations(Australian Tax Office)
- Ten tips to help committeeskeep on top of it all (Our Community)