Aspirational Governance – Inspiring Great Outcomes

We sometimes refer to aspirational goals as ones we might hope to achieve, while suspecting that they are beyond our reach. Yet, without aspiring to achieve great things, no great things can actually happen. So it is with nonprofit governance aspirations. Aspiring to be compliant doesn’t offer much inspiration to your stakeholders, or your team.… Continue reading Aspirational Governance – Inspiring Great Outcomes

How effective is your board? – Part 5

Board Effectiveness Diagnostics Notwithstanding the shortcomings of simple surveys (e.g. one size does not fit all, tick-the-box mentality, etc.), boards can use checklists as mechanisms to ‘take the pulse’ or to perform basic compliance checks. The most fundamental diagnostics your board could use relate to legal and governance compliance – both as regards board effectiveness,… Continue reading How effective is your board? – Part 5

How long is your governance ‘year’?

Need for a key dates calendar Some of the smaller associations and community groups I have worked with have no staff, so volunteer directors and committee members are charged with doing all the work involved in running the organisation. I recently assisted one such group with the establishment of a Governance Committee, and part of… Continue reading How long is your governance ‘year’?

Organisational ‘Archy’-tecture

We have referenced ‘enterprise architecture‘ previously when describing the system ‘layers’ which make up a nonprofit’s ‘system of systems’. The whimsical title of this post seeks to broaden the lens to consider the relationship between organisational structure and functions (including products and services). The term ‘architecture‘ shares linguistic roots with numerous terms used to describe… Continue reading Organisational ‘Archy’-tecture

Rely-ability, Re-liability, and Reliability

‘Reliability’, like ‘validity’, is a term with multiple meanings. In non-profit settings (amongst others) there are several contexts in which the concept of ‘reliability’ is expressed differently. This post reflects only some of these. A dictionary definition sounds straightforward enough – ‘that which can be relied upon, fit to be depended upon, trustworthy‘. When we… Continue reading Rely-ability, Re-liability, and Reliability

Locus Focus Vs ‘Hocus Pocus’

Measuring success is part of the governance and management responsibility of all non-profit organisations. This responsibility augments obligations related to compliance with legal, regulatory and ethical requirements ‘Hocus Pocus’ According to, ‘hocus-pocus‘ is an illusion or a meaningless distraction that tricks you in some way. Originally derived from invocations used in magic shows (like… Continue reading Locus Focus Vs ‘Hocus Pocus’

With ‘respect’ …

Organisational Culture – Part 7 Respect is a value espoused by many non-profit organisations – as one would expect. I suggested reflection on how respect is expressed within your organisation in a recent blog post, partly because it is so often at the core of workplace conflicts. Under different circumstances and at different times, we… Continue reading With ‘respect’ …

Getting on board with employee engagement

Starting a new job is a little like being a tourist visiting another country, where they speak another language and have different customs. Learning the language and understanding the culture are just parts of the process of onboarding, which is itself only one aspect of the organisation’s talent management and employee engagement system. A basic… Continue reading Getting on board with employee engagement

OK to delegate?

Non-profit organisations depend heavily on volunteers to achieve their purposes. Non-profit board directors therefore have a built-in recognition of the need to delegate key aspects of the organisation’s operations to individual volunteers or groups of volunteers. Role confusion? As very few non-profit entities pay their directors, most of those people think of themselves as volunteers,… Continue reading OK to delegate?

Good and Bad Delegation

Experienced non-profit directors and managers understand that the key to effective volunteer engagement is relationship management. Having best practice policies and procedures, including a volunteer policy framework and instruments of delegation, may be necessary, but these measures are not sufficient to successfully engage your volunteer ‘workforce’. Engagement or buck-passing? Old school ‘carrot and stick’ approaches… Continue reading Good and Bad Delegation