Governance for community organisations

The term 'governance' refers to a not-for-profit community organisation's board and its collective legal responsibility as an incorporated association, company limited by guarantee or cooperative.

Essential elements of good governance are:

  • Good governance structure
  • Good policies, processes and procedures
  • The right mix of people on boards or committees of management.

Governance Capability Framework

The 'Community Sector Governance Capability Framework' describes the broad capabilities required by people on boards or committees of management in community sector organisations.

It provides board or committee members with a common language for the knowledge and skills that are critical for the stewardship of an organisation. It also includes knowledge and skills required for particular roles on the board, such as that of board chair.

Case studies on how to use the Governance Capability Framework

Organisations which have implemented components of the Governance Capability Framework and have agreed to share their experience in the case studies below.

These organisations were selected for their diversity to demonstrate the framework’s application to not-for-profit organisations, large and small, providing services to a cross section of Victorians. The report provides an overview of the key findings and a listing of organisations that provide governance resourcing, training and support to the not for profit sector.

Governance Capability Framework facilitators tools

The facilitators tools have been developed for use by a facilitator who could be:

  • The board chair
  • Another member of the board who has an interest in governance
  • Someone brought in by the board to coordinate and assist a review of governance capabilities.
  • Organisations or websites that can assist with governance

    Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission
    Target Group: All registered charities

    The Commonwealth independent national regulator of charities.

    Australian Institute of Company Directors
    Target Group: Larger NFPs

    A member-based, NFP organisation. Principal activities include education; conducting professional development programs and events for boards and directors; producing publications on director and governance issues; and developing and promoting policies on issues of interest to directors.

    Consumer Affairs Victoria
    Target Group: All NFP incorporated associations 

    Provides a range of resources and training programs to assist NFP incorporated associations meet their legislative and regulatory obligations under the Associations Incorporations Reform Act (2012).

    Good Company
    Target Group: All NFPs

    A volunteer matching website where community organisations can list their requirements and skilled volunteers can identify the type of organisation and work that best suits their interests and expertise.

    Governance Institute of Australia
    Target Group: Larger NFPs

    Conducts accredited and internationally recognised education and training courses to skill board members to improve their organisation’s performance.

    Justice Connect- Not for Profit Law
    Target Group: All NFPs (some services particularly suited to small ‘public interest’ groups)

    An independent, NFP organisation providing training and resources to NFP organisations. It maintains a legal information web portal with free, plain language resources across the lifecycle of an NFP.

    They deliver training in Melbourne and throughout regional Victoria and can also discuss individual arrangements and also provide direct legal assistance to eligible NFPs by way of a telephone advice service and pro bono referral services.

    Leadership Victoria
    Target Group: New and experienced board members 

    Conducts board leadership training programs.

    Neighbourhood Houses Victoria
    Target Group: Neighbourhood Houses

    Provides strategic leadership for Neighbourhood Houses in Victoria, supporting members with advocacy, research, and advice on relevant policy and legislative developments.

    Not for Profit Training
    Target Group: All NFPs

    Public and in-house tailored training services in governance, finance, funding and grant writing, leadership and marketing.

    Our Community
    Target Group: All NFPs, particularly small ones

    Provides accredited training, half-day workshops and conferences.

    ProBono Australia
    Target Group: All  NFPs

    Provides an online hub for the NFP sector to source and advertise for volunteers, employment opportunities, resources and events.

    Sport Australia (formerly the Australian Sports Commission)
    Target Group: Sporting NFP organisations

    Provides sports governance principles, which can assist boards of sporting organisations to develop, implement and maintain a robust system of governance that fits the particular circumstances of their sport.

    Various local governments
    Target Group: Small NFPs located within the municipality

    Some local governments conduct governance training to support and resource local clubs and groups to fulfil their statutory obligations and enable them to continue receiving local government resources for services and facilities (e.g. subsidised rent on premises, access to community grants).

    Target Group: Community organisations delivering health and well-being programs

    Sometimes offers training designed to build skills of all stakeholders in the delivery of health initiatives and is open to board and committee members.

    Target Group: Sporting NFPs

    Vicsport in conjunction with VicHealth has developed the Good Governance Tool Kit. This provides practical information and templates for boards, chairs, CEO’s and other key figures responsible for governance in sporting organisations. Vicsport also provides training workshops for administrators and volunteers.

    Victorian Managed Insurance Authority
    Target Group: NFPs with Victorian Government funding

    The insurer for all of the Victorian Government’s assets and provides coverage for NFPs that receive government funding. Training is provided to eligible organisations state-wide on best practice in risk management.

    Victorian Public Sector Commission
    Target Group: Government and statutory authorities

    Has developed a range of governance publications targeting the public sector that are also of relevance to the NFPs.

    Women on Boards
    Target Group: All women seeking board membership

    Strives to improve the gender balance on Australian boards. This is through partnerships with corporate, government and non-profit sectors to:

    • Hold events
    • Host programs
    • Create opportunities for women
    • Coach and mentor women into career and director roles.