Help Us Give NPOs the Support They Need
What would you say if I told you, that we could have over two and a half million individuals with a seat on the governing body of a nonprofit organisation in South Africa?
As of 25 January 2019 there were 205 527 nonprofit organisations registered on the Department of Social Developments NPO Register in South Africa. The sector estimates that there are as many as 50 000 not registered. Many people ask the question as to how many of these organisations are still functional. That is a good question.
Each organisation, whether a voluntary association, nonprofit trust or nonprofit company, has some form of governing body (Board). This then, begs the question as to what is the average size of a NPO governing body? Globally, the average size of these governing bodies is between 8 and 12 members. For purposes of this discussion, let’s take 10 as the figure for illustration.
This translates into a staggering total of over 2 500 000 individuals, who have a ‘governance’ responsibility on behalf of the stakeholders and beneficiaries of these organisations. Let’s be fair and say that maybe they’ve a seat on two governing bodies, which translates into a staggering 1 250 000 governing body members. Third Sector Insights (TSI) NPT’s experience over the past twenty years, indicates that over 80% of these wonderful individuals, who accept a seat on these governing bodies because they have a passion for the issue/s the NPO is/are addressing, may not have sat on a governing body before.
This leads to another question which often pops up. Are they or are they not discharging their duties in an effective and efficient manner, from an informed position? There’s an interesting saying which goes like this –
“You don’t know what you do not know until you know what you don’t know!”
It then becomes incumbent upon the person to find ways to become more informed. What an amazing opportunity to engage, empower and evolve with these governing bodies and shine the light into their board rooms. TSI is committed to working with them, empowering them to be more effective and efficient in the discharging of their duties on behalf of the stake holders and beneficiaries.
In a recent article by Marcus Coetzee entitled “Governance Versus Management in Non-Profit Organizations” he mentions that, and I quote: “Poor governance significantly increases the risk that a non-profit organization or social enterprise will under-perform or close down. Yet for some reason, many governing bodies (e.g. boards, executive committees) struggle to perform their duties effectively. These mandated structures seem more interested in micro-managing staff and processes, when they should be helping to lead organisations into their strategic future.
Ultimately, when a governing body stops providing effective oversight and starts doing managers’ jobs, then the executive management team is undermined. Blind spots start to appear in the organisation’s strategy. This can be fatal. I’ve often pondered why this occurs. I’ve concluded that there are four main causes:
- confusion about the difference between governance and management;
- failure to appoint the right people to governing bodies;
- the tendency of those appointed (e.g. Directors) to have the wrong conversations;
- unnecessary clutter in governance structures and processes.”
Of further interest is an article which he wrote back in July 2013 entitled “Effective Governance in Nonprofit Organizations,” where he posited the following:
“All non-profit organizations have governance structures. In some organizations these structures are a source of insight, leadership and inspiration. In others they are a source of ineffectiveness, frustration and conflict. There are three primary roles of these governance structures (referred to as ‘boards’ throughout), as well as the key factors that correlate with the effectiveness of these structures. The directors elected to these boards have three primary roles: the first is to ensure that the organizations they are governing are compliant with various laws and procedures; the second is to ensure that they are managed responsibly; and the third is to ensure that they perform.”
The above articles by Marcus and my own overview in this post are relevant today. In fact more so so as the World Institute of Governance for Non Profit Organisations (WIGNPO) shares on its website the following shocking information:
Approximately $500 billion USD is donated annually to help those in need in the world, but only 50% achieve their objectives due to mismanagement and poor governance.
So, this is a global challenge. With all of this in mind, how does one go about addressing key governance and governing body development needs?
Partner with us in being of service to them. Help fund the NPO organisations in beginning their governing body members’ journey to success by empowering them to register and complete the ourGOVERNANCE © RSA e-learning programme, specifically designed for executives and governing body members of nonprofit organisations.