NGO Governance Basics 1
Posted on 26 October, 2020 at 09:34
By Epaphras Chinyakuza
The apex of a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) generally comprises of the Board of Directors/Trustees and sometimes the General Assembly which oversees the activities of the Board.
One of the main functions of the board is setting up organisational direction. This involves drafting the organisation's mission statement that defines its fundamental purpose and reason to exist. This mission statement serves as part of the support mechanism for assessing how the organisational goals have been met and it defines the overall boundaries for course of action. The board also sets the standards and ethical guidelines and monitors organisational performance. The organisation’s management team reports to the Board usually through the Executive Director or Chief Executive Officer who is also a de facto member of the Board.
An NGO needs a board charter that clearly sets out the respective roles, responsibilities and authorities of the board of directors/trustees (both individually and collectively) and management in setting the direction, the management and the control of the organisation. The charter should also specify the roles and operation of various subcommittees such as the Audit, Nominations, Finance etc. These sub-committees are vital in examining the more technical issues to do with the performance of the organisation. Financial accountability is usually the responsibility of the Finance and Audit Committees whilst the Nominations and Human Resources Committees specialise in the personnel needs and processes. The number of sub-committees to be set up by the organisation depends on the size of the organisation, activities workload, reporting requirements by various stakeholders such as funding partners and the core business of the organisation.
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