Created: July 25, 2013 at 9:17 AM | Updated: August 28, 2018 | By Community Resource Kit
Governance is about how an organisation is run. It covers all the strategies, systems, processes and controls that enable a group to decide what it will do and to make sure it happens e.g. where the organisation is now, where it is going and what is needed to get it there.
Good governance is crucial for a community organisation because it enables the group to steer towards its goals (the word itself comes from the Latin gubernare - to steer, direct, guide, govern) while making sure it is managed on day-to-day basis keeping its objectives in mind.
Non profit governance has a dual focus: achieving the organisation's social mission and ensuring that the organisation is viable.
When community groups are small and members work on a voluntary basis, it's common for the same people to be involved in both leading and running the group. However, as an organisation grows, it might start to look at getting public funding or employing people. When this happens, the group will become accountable to certain stakeholders, e.g. funders, and it is important to have some separation between the leadership (governance) and the operational (or management) roles in the group.
Just as each community group is different, how it is governed will vary from group to group. There is no one perfect organisational solution. A group's governing body (its board or committee) should design an approach to governance that suits the organisation while being aware that there are some core roles and functions of governance that are common to all community organisations.
This governance section looks at these core roles and functions, and also covers:
This section on governance covers the following topics:
Throughout this section the term 'governing body' is used, which is meant to include:
The word member is also used occasionally to refer to the individuals that make up a governing body.
Next page: Governance and management