Top Ten Tips for Effective Board Members
16 April 2013 at 11:14 am
Charity board members have the ultimate responsibility for running an organisation and Australia’s charity regulator, the ACNC has produced a list of top ten tips for effective board members as part of its newly released Governance for Good publication.
- Know what your charity’s charitable purpose is and make sure you and your charity are working towards it – when in doubt, ask yourself whether your actions are furthering your charity’s charitable purpose.
- Be clear about your role and make sure that the roles and responsibilities of everyone at your charity are well understood, whether they are a volunteer, member, board member, client or employee.
- Understand your charity’s financial position and be familiar with its financial statements – everyone on your board shares a responsibility to make sure your charity’s finances are well-managed.
- Keep your responsibilities as a board member in mind when making decisions as a board member, particularly the difficult ones.
- Have a copy of your rules: read them, understand them, follow them and if ever you are uncertain, ask your other board members or get professional advice.
- Although board members act as a collective, do not just follow the crowd. You should always do what you think is best for your charity, even if sometimes it means asking questions, getting extra information or independent advice, or taking a different view to other board members.
- Know your charity’s obligations to government agencies (such as the ACNC and other regulators) and make sure your charity is meeting them.
- Listen to the other board members and work as part of a team. Your board shares a collective responsibility for the organisation and you should see board members as colleagues.
- Be confident to declare and manage conflicts of interest responsibly. For more information read the ACNC quick tips on managing conflicts of interest on acnc.gov.au
- Always act in the best interests of your charity – as a board member you have a responsibility to put the interests of your charity above your own personal interests.
“The Governance For Good guide has been written specifically for charity board members and focuses on good governance – the cornerstone of effectively run charities,” the ACNC Assistant Commissioner David Locke said.
The guide is available at acnc.gov.au for download, and includes information on:
- Governance and governing your charity
- Governing documents
- Overseeing a charity’s finances
- Common questions for boards
- Duties and responsibilities of board members
- Obligations to the ACNC
- Helpful resources for charities
The ACNC says guide will be updated to include the Governance and external conduct standards, expected to be introduced from July 1, 2013.