Governing Boards: In the Non-Profit Sector

governance npos Toolkit
Monday, 27 February, 2006 - 12:36

Governing Boards: In the Non-Profit SectorAuthors: Ricardo Wyngard, Patric T.

Published by Inyathelo Governing Boards: in the Non-Profit Sector is a valuable resource for civil society organisations, (CSO’s) referred to in the manual as non-profit organisations (NPO’s), for both Board and Staff members to find mutually acceptable ways of working together to achieve their mission.

It joins the ranks of works by Benita Pavlicevic (undated) as well as Camay and Gordon (2002) to provide information on the importance of a governing board, its basic responsibilities, conducting Board meetings, its role in strategic planning and the relationship between the Board and the Chief Executive.

The for-profit world in South Africa has witnessed the production of the King I and II Reports and a number of other works to guide corporate Boards in their endeavours to achieve improved governance.  The recent publication by Khoza and Adam in 2005 has also attempted to provide guidance to Boards in state owned enterprises on how to manage their affairs.

Whilst these publications run into several hundreds pages each, the Governing Boards in the Non-Profit Sector is a slim volume of 65 pages.  It is an easy read and has several boxes and references where the inquiring board and staff member can seek out additional information.

With an increasing emphasis by the Registrars of the Non-Profit Organization Directorate as well as the dti on the governance of organisations, and the various tax compliance/requirements of the South African Revenue Services, the chapter on the Basic Responsibilities of the Governing Board is a useful chapter outlining the general legal responsibilities of Boards and board members.

In a box on non-profits and democracy important points are made on the historic anti-apartheid nature of the sector, its necessary present day, non-partisan, apolitical voice in a democracy.  The box lists two public service identities for NPOs:  a solution oriented advocacy role, as well as facilitating a public participation role for grassroots constituencies.

In this reviewer’s opinion, the booklet will find wide popularity given the size of the sector and a potential half a million or more non-profit board members in the country. 

Future editions might be improved upon by providing some pro-forma guides on issues such as a code of conduct, a declaration of interest etc.  But of necessity such a guide would have to wait until the Companies Act is amended and the impact of Section 21, the not-for-gain organisations section is reviewed and legislated in the near future.

Acquire the Book: Contact Tumi Nkompela at 021 422 3413 of the Non-Profit Consortium, please fax deposit slip with mailing address to  021 422 3329. The book costs R75.00, including VAT (to be collected at their office in Cape Town), or R90.00, including VAT (includes postage and packaging).

Bank Account Details:
Bank: Nedbank Cape Town
Branch: St Georges Mall, Cape Town
Branch Code: 100-909
Account Number: 100-978-5621

Authors: Ricardo Wyngard, Patric T. Mellel and Shelagh Gastrow.

Publisher: Joint publication by the Inyathelo and the Non-Profit Consortium.

Reviewed by: Phiroshaw Camay, Director Co-operative for Research and Education (CORE).

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