The rules and regulations around running a not-for-profit are complex and confusing. In fact, the rules can be even more complex than they are for starting a small business.
Not only is good governance important for meeting your organisation’s legal requirements, it’s also crucial to the health of your not-for-profit. Having seen the challenges many not-for-profits face when trying to understand their organisation’s governance, we decided to trial a free governance health check for community groups.
When Sue Carlile from Family Access Network (FAN) heard about the offer, she jumped at the chance.
“The timing was sensational,” she said. Her organisation had been restructuring their governance, and she wanted an outsider’s opinion to make sure they were headed in the right direction.
“The process itself was thorough, which I appreciated. It was very thorough. It also meant that we had to be willing to be vulnerable and expose where there might be some challenges.”
Once Sue submitted the survey online, a lawyer from Justice Connect’s Not-for-profit Law team reviewed her results. We then came up with a series of recommendations based on the answers Sue had provided. Amy reached out to Sue and suggested having a phone meeting to explain the recommendations and highlight what was working well for FAN.
“I thought that was really good process,” said Sue. “David—our chair—and I sat in this room speaking to Amy and we just sort of looked at each other going, ‘Wow!’. A couple of times David turned to me and mimed, ‘This is gold’.”
A few days after the teleconference, Amy sent through a summary of of all the recommendations that were made during the phone call, along with next steps and links to resources to help FAN implement those recommendations.
“What was really great was the engagement in terms of Justice Connect affirming what we were doing well. As David said, it was gold.”
Justice Connect’s free governance health check was a limited-time offer in 2018 (funded by the Victorian Government). Visit our Not-for-profit Law website for more information on governance, as well as low-cost webinars and training for not-for-profit organisations.