Update on our Governance Project - December 2018

People having a meeting

Published 12 December 2018

Earlier this year we announced that we had begun work on a project to look into what we can do to make things easier for charities to improve their governance. We thought it was timely to provide an update with where we are at.

Why do this?

One of our key roles as the regulator is to educate charities about matters of good governance and management. We know governance is an issue for many charities because throughout our work here we see many examples where poor governance has had a negative impact on a charity’s ability to operate effectively and meet their objectives.

What we’ve done so far

We’ve spent this year working on a project looking at what we can do to make things easier for charities to improve their governance. We started the project off by looking at what kind of resources and tools are available in Aotearoa and internationally. We found that there is some really great stuff out there but a lot of it is technical and isn’t understood by smaller charities.

We also identified a lot of great people and organisations who are working with those in the sector to improve their governance.

The next stage of the project was to get out and about and talk to people. We wanted to hear first-hand experiences from those that are running charities, governance experts, funders, and others that support the sector. To ensure we knew what was going on across government, we also chatted to a number of government agencies.

Over a few months we completed over 50 fascinating interviews. We purposely chose to canvas a wide variety of views to really understand more about governance and where we can help.

What we found

We found that many people come to charities with great passion for the purpose of the organisation. Unfortunately, a lot of responders reported that some people do not have the knowledge to run a charity effectively. In many cases, people didn’t really understand what was expected of them and they were hesitant to ask for help or guidance.

We have created this simple one-pager [PDF, 195 KB] that summarises what we found, what we are going to do about it in the short-term and what our long-term goals are.

A lot of resources are already available on CommunityNet Aotearoa(external link) and if you are looking for templates, resources, or want to post some useful materials that you’ve put together, this is the place to do it.

We aren’t doing this alone

We are also starting some work with others who are experienced and passionate about providing help to support boards and committees. We have partnered with them because we all believe that governance really matters and we all believe we can help organisations go from good to great.

We’ll continue to work closely with specialists in this area to support the development of resources that work for charities in New Zealand.

We want to hear from you!

This work is gathering momentum. We will be starting to work on new resources in the New Year, and we are conscious that we have a lot to do.

One of our plans is to send out a survey to all registered charities because it’s crucial your voice is involved in this project. We will let you know about the survey through our newsletter and social media channels. Please get involved, we need to hear what you need.

If you are interested in this work and want to contribute, please get in contact info@charities.govt.nz.  
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