In a climate of increasingly rigorous accountability, boards and management committees of non-profit organisations are being asked to shoulder much greater responsibility for the legal and ethical operation of their organisations. In consultation with Arts Queensland, the Queensland Government’s arts department, a pilot program was developed and successfully implemented over a nine-month period in 2008-09. Evaluation of BoardConnect’s pilot services revealed:
- 100% of respondents found BoardConnect’s advice service to be prompt and useful, and 94% found their involvement in a structured BoardConnect program to be useful.
- 86% of respondents felt they were likely to continue using services, depending on the package offered, while 93% indicated they were likely to recommend the service to industry colleagues.
The value of the initiative was recognised by the Queensland Government which extended co-funding of the program for a further two years from August 2009.
During the current phase of its operation, BoardConnect seeks to address the governance and board development issues that remain significant and challenging for many non-profit organisations. It seeks to provide board members of non-profit organisations with a sustained, continuous and confidential source of advice and/or other resources.
Key objectives of BoardConnect are:
- To support the work of arts organisations in developing their understanding of the role of boards and in raising standards of governance
- To undertake action research with industry partners regarding the best methods of achieving stronger governance in the non-profit sector
- To develop multiple income streams that will ensure the sustainability of the program
Strategies for delivering on BoardConnect’s key objectives are:
- supporting non-profit organisations through direct consultation with BoardConnect staff
- developing partnerships with corporate businesses which are able to provide sponsorship via cash and/or pro-bono services
- referring technically-specific inquiries to corporate business partners whose staff can provide assistance appropriate to the needs articulated, either via pro bono or fee-paying services
- presenting a number of workshops, briefings, webinars or round-table discussions on topics relevant to industry clients
- working with selected organisations on an in-depth and long-term governance development program
- providing continuously updated resources on the website, including reports on events and workshops and detailed Fact Sheets on specific topics commissioned from specialist consultants
- documenting the progress of consultations in order to support action research over the life of the program
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