In addition to stable funding, the most important need
within non-profit organizations is governance. Increasingly,
the voluntary sector is being called upon to play greater
roles in Alberta. The public, volunteers, government, and
recipients of voluntary endeavours have high expectations
that governance policies are in place.
The Board of Directors has the primary legal, fiduciary, and
ethical responsibility for the governance of a non-profit
organization and for seeing that the mission of the organization
To carry out its mission, the organization must
be fiscally sound, fully accountable, have strong stewardship and effective management, and it must maintain the confidence
and the moral support of its members, users and beneficiaries,
staff, volunteers, and the general public. Ultimately, good
governance ensures the viability, effectiveness, and
importantly, the credibility of an organization. The Board of
Directors of non-profit organizations are themselves volunteers.
Challenges faced by organizations who are striving to maintain
governance best practices are the pressures of rising demands
and shrinking resources.
Notably, voluntary organizations are self-governing. Every
organization has its own distinctive organizational culture,
mission, philosophy of governance, and financial and human
resources to manage. While organizations are as unique as
fingerprints, there are governance best practices that have
emerged and are common between successful organizations. Best
practices include a clear mission and a strategic plan, fiscal
responsibility, transparent communication, accountability; the
board understands its role, an effective management structure,
and assessment and evaluations of practices.