• 30 May 2017 12:27 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    A new external dispute regulation (EDR) scheme has been backed by the Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA), despite opposition from other industry associations.

    The executive director of the FBAA, Peter White, has said that the new Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) would benefit consumers.

    The formation of AFCA was informed by the Ramsay Review into the finance industry’s dispute resolution and complaints framework. The new EDR authority is an amalgamation of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), the Credits and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT).

    Mr White said: “The amalgamation of the Financial Ombudsman Service, the CIO and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal will improve systems that will lead to better consumer outcomes.

    “We believe it will speed up turnaround times and streamline case management processes without the non-alignment of processes by two separate ombudsmen.”

    His stance opposes that of the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA), which released a joint statement last week with five other associations (including the Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) and the Australian Collectors & Debt Buyers Association (ACDBA)), saying that AFCA was a “monopoly scheme” which would “undermine the fabric of EDR.” Please click here for this article. 

    The group also argued that AFCA would be less accountable to stakeholders and less responsive to industry concerns, while also favouring big banks over smaller.

    Speaking to these complaints, Mr White said the new authority would focus on better outcomes for consumer borrowers and small businesses rather than associations, as had always been the case.

    He also dismissed fears that smaller banks would end up subsidising a scheme which accommodates bigger banks.

    However, CIO head, Raj Venga, has also slammed the AFCA and echoed fears that it would monopolistic, while calling the Ramsay Review a “complete whitewash.” Earlier in the month, Mr Venga argued that both the review and the AFCA were a diversion to avoid a royal commission into the big banks.

    Responding to the remarks, Mr White said there was no basis for a royal commission: “The CIO needs to remember the ombudsman service is about borrower disputes being resolved and not industry bodies,” he said.

    This article was originally sourced from The Adviser here and was written by Lucy Dean. 

  • 26 May 2017 4:32 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    Advanced Solutions International (ASI), a leading global provider of software and services for associations and not-for-profits, recently announced it will renew its sponsorship of the Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE) in New Zealand for 2017 and will expand support to include Australia as well. AuSAE is the peak not-for-profit professional society in Australia and New Zealand for association executives.

    ASI’s sponsorship will help support AuSAE’s innovative and insightful conferences, training and workshops, leadership symposiums, networking events, research, member forums, and advocacy efforts in Australia and New Zealand.

    “ASI has been a partner of AuSAE in New Zealand for the past two years and we’ve valued this relationship,” said Paul Ramsbottom, Managing Director of ASI Asia-Pacific. “We look forward to expanding our participation in Australia in the coming year.”

    "We know a thriving, well supported peak body is critical for the success of the association sector and we're pleased to add our support to AuSAE as they grow in strength".

    “AuSAE is committed to providing results-driven partnership opportunities,” said Toni Brearley, AuSAE’s Chief Executive Officer. “We are delighted ASI has recognised the value our organisation brings to the industry and has decided to extend their partnership to Australia in 2017. Their support means we will be able to continue delivering quality education, advocacy and career development opportunities for members across our entire region.”

    About ASI

    Advanced Solutions International (ASI) is a recognised global, industry thought leader that focuses on helping associations and not-for-profits increase operational and financial performance through the use of best practices, proven solutions, and ongoing client advisement. Since 1991, ASI has served nearly 4,000 clients and millions of users worldwide, both directly and indirectly through a network of over 100 partners, and currently maintains corporate offices in the USA, UK, Canada, and Australia. Learn more at

  • 26 May 2017 4:06 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    ICYMI, Toni Brearley was recently appointed as AuSAE's new CEO. Toni has been with the organisation since 2013 and is looking forward to the new role and working with and supporting members to create a strong and robust association sector. Having been with the organisation for a few years now it's highly likely you have met Toni along your travels. However here are a few fun facts about AuSAE's new CEO that you might not have otherwise known.

    • What are you most excited about for your role as CEO of AuSAE?

    Continuing the journey that has been started for me. I have seen AuSAE grow and mature in the past 4 years, and I am genuinely honoured to have the opportunity to represent such a broad, vibrant and important sector. But mostly, I am looking forward to continuing to support and work with our incredible members and promoting this wonderful profession we all belong to of Association Management.

    • Who inspires you / who do you admire and why?

    Inspiration and admiration are an interesting thing. The older I get, more and more I find that ordinary people have extraordinary stories, sometimes you need to take the time and ask the right questions. Rarely do you find a person who has had a completely blessed path.

    • What do you do for fun?

    Good friends, good food and good wine…. throw in a view of the ocean and I am complete.

    • iPhone or Samsung?

    What is a Samsung ?

    • Favourite food?

    Wine is a food isn’t it? Although lately I’m rather partial to GYG Nachos Fries.

    • Favourite TV shows?

    This may be telling of what I do in my spare time (often the wee hours of night/morning when the house is quiet). So in no particular era or order:

    • The West Wing
    • House of Cards
    • Game of Thrones
    • The Good Wife
    • GirlBoss
    • And if I’m completely truthful – Real Housewives of Melbourne !
    • Drink of choice?

    Coffee in the morning, wine in the evening (also refer to favourite food)

    • Favourite app right now?

    Snapchat – because I enjoy embarrassing my 11 year old son and quite frankly the filters are amazing!

    • The best business advice you’ve ever received?

    As a young child, my Dad always made me live by the mantra that in life you have the freedom to make whatever decisions you choose, however you must be prepared to stand by the consequences of those decisions and their impact. Something that has always stayed with me.

    • Favourite go to websites/blogs for news on your industry?

    Whilst I always like to keep up with US Industry information from ASAE, I find LinkedIn the place where I uncover the stories of the great work associations and their members are doing here in Australia and NZ.

    If you would like to chat to Toni at any time please email:, call her on 1300 764 576 or connect with her on LinkedIn here

  • 25 May 2017 3:37 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    CPA Australia’s recent, legally mandated, release of its member register has gained significant news coverage. As a result, your not-for-profit organisation may be wondering what its obligations are regarding the release of its member register.

    If your not-for-profit organisation is a public company limited by guarantee, then it has specific obligations under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corporations Act) regarding the disclosure of its member register. However, there are only some scenarios in which the register can and should be released, and it is important that the correct process is followed.

    Releasing the member register, when not required to by law, may be a breach of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act).

    Requirement to Maintain a Register

    Public companies limited by guarantee must keep a register of members pursuant to the Corporations Act. Under section 169, the register must include the name and address of all members, as well as the date on which each member was entered onto the register.

    Corporations Act – Disclosure of Register

    Section 173 governs the right of anyone to inspect, and in some circumstances, to obtain copies of the register.

    Anyone (including non-members) is allowed to inspect the register without providing reasons, but the requirements surrounding obtaining copies of the register are more subtle.

    Members and other individuals may be permitted under section 173 to obtain copies of the register. The person wishing to obtain a copy must first submit an application to the company to do so.

    A company must allow a person to obtain copies of the register if:

    • the application states the purposes for which the person wishes to obtain the copies;
    • none of the reasons are “prescribed purposes”;
    • the applicant pays any fees required by the company (if permitted by law); and
    • the application includes the person’s name and address.

    After obtaining a request, the organisation has seven days to decide how to respond.

    Prescribed Purposes

    In summary, the following purposes are deemed at law to be “prescribed purposes”:

    • soliciting a donation from a member of a company;
    • as a stockbroker, soliciting business from a member;
    • gathering information about the personal wealth of a member; and
    • making an offer for the sale of a financial product.

    These scenarios may be rare in the context of a not-for-profit organisation. However, it is important that, if a request for the member register is made, the organisation obtains sufficient information regarding the purpose in order to be certain it is not a prescribed purpose.

    If the person provides an evasive or overly general response regarding the purpose (for example, for the person’s records, or out of curiosity), then the organisation will not be able to satisfy itself that the purpose is not a prescribed purpose, and should not disclose the register.

    If, however, the person does provide a specific reason, which is not one of the prescribed purposes, then the organisation will generally be obliged to disclose the register, even if it is against the organisation’s wishes.

    Payment of Fees

    The organisation can request fees for the inspection and/or obtaining copies of the register.

    Members of the organisation are allowed to inspect the register for free, but other persons may be required by the organisation to pay a prescribed fee, depending on whether the register is kept on a computer.

    If copies of the register are to be provided, then fees can be charged to both members and other persons. The amount of the fee is dependent upon the number of members of the company.

    If a fee is requested, and the member or other individual refuses to pay, then this can be a ground for refusing to disclose the register.

    Interaction with Privacy Act

    The Privacy Act governs the collection and disclosure of personal information and sensitive information, for some organisations.

    The information contained in the member register of a public company limited by guarantee does not come under the definition of sensitive information, but does come under the definition of personal information. Personal information is broadly defined as any information which identifies an individual.

    The Privacy Act imposes requirements on an organisation surrounding when it is permitted to disclose personal information that it holds on individuals. Generally, information can only be disclosed for the purpose for which it was collected, unless an exception applies.

    One of the exceptions is when an organisation is required or authorised, under Australian law, to disclose the information to a third party.

    Permitted Disclosure

    This means that disclosing the member register to a member will generally come under this exception, as long as the organisation actually was required under section 173 to disclose the information.

    If the organisation discloses copies of the member register without first satisfying itself that the member did not have an improper, “prescribed purpose”, then the organisation may not be meeting its obligations under the Privacy Act.

    Incorporated Associations

    If your organisation is an incorporated association, then the law regarding the member register is significantly less settled. In some (but not all) jurisdictions, the associations legislation deals with the release of the member register.

    In absence of any statutory provisions, your organisation will need to follow the terms of its constitution, and also consider any obligations under the Privacy Act and its privacy policy.


    If your organisation has never considered its member register obligations before, you should consider developing a policy regarding how member register requests will be handled.

    Requests to view the member register are not as rare as they may appear, and in light of the recent CPA Australia events, they may occur more frequently.

    Contact Mills Oakley: 

    Vera Visevic, Partner 

    T: +61 2 8289 5812 


    This article was originally sourced from the Mills Oakley website here and was written by John Vaughan-Williams, Lawyer. 

  • 25 May 2017 3:30 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    For associations concerned with retaining talent—and which association isn’t?—a successful exit interview can give you the knowledge you need to make talent-saving tweaks to your business operations or management styles. Plus, some tips for making the most out of them.

    Is an exit interview worthwhile? After all, an outgoing employee already creates a lengthy to-do list for various people in an organization—including distributing work to other members of the team, advertising for his or her replacement, and closing out payroll and benefits, among others. But a 2016 Harvard Business Review article and a conversation with Zell Murphy, SVP of finance and administration at the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM), convinced me that exit interviews are very worthwhile, even if they add another task to the list.

    Why? HBR says it better than I can: “In today’s knowledge economy, skilled employees are the asset that drives organizational success. Thus companies must learn from them—why they stay, why they leave, and how the organization needs to change.”

    And exit interviews are a great way to gather some of this information. “If you start hearing consistent concerns about something that the organization might not be doing or may be doing that is somehow causing folks to want to look elsewhere, and that’s something that’s within the organization’s control to correct, you want to know that,” Murphy said.

    After all, knowing the concern is the first step to addressing it—and hopefully keeping more of your employees from jumping ship. To that end, here are a few rules for conducting profitable exit interviews.

    Let HR professionals handle the exit interviews. According to a recent HBR survey of 188 executives, about 70 percent of respondents said their HR departments handle exit interviews, while 19 percent said that an outgoing employee’s direct supervisor conduct them. But Murphy advises against the latter. “The employee may not open up or may feel intimidated in speaking with the direct supervisor,” Murphy said. “Some of the questions are asking about the supervisor. It’s important that the employee be as open and honest as possible during the exit interview, because it’s not doing anyone any good if the employee holds back.”

    Conduct exit interviews face-to-face. If you want candid responses to your questions, you’ll want to perform the exit interview in person, as opposed to over the phone or via email. “It’s not as spontaneous or honest as you might get when someone is sitting across the desk from you and having a casual conversation,” Murphy said.

    Inspire real responses with transparency. This comes down to trust, Murphy said, and this has to be established long before the exit interview occurs. Still, even in the exit interview, it’s important to stress the value of an employee’s thoughts and experiences and how they will contribute to the future wellbeing of the organization. It’s also important to be transparent with them. “When I begin the exit interview, I actually say to them, ‘I plan to share these comments with your supervisor,’” he said.

    Make sure the timing is right. At CTAM, Murphy gives an outgoing employee the exit interview questions in advance of the actual interview, so that he or she can start formulating responses. Next, he’ll sit down with an employee a couple of days before his or her last day, and they’ll chat through the questions. He will then type up the responses and send them back to the employee for review. Then, after the employee has left the organization, Murphy will forward the exit interview responses to both the direct supervisor and the CEO.

    Analyze and act if necessary. If the end goal is retaining and engaging talented employees, then organizations better be willing to analyze their exit interviews—and make organizational or personnel tweaks if necessary. At CTAM, the majority of employees who have resigned have done so for reasons outside of CTAM’s control and not due to any negative experience they have had. But if there is a recurring issue in multiple exit interviews, it’s important that the senior staff talk about that and address it. “Because if the problem is serious enough and no changes are made, the other staff—they’re going to see that, and they’re going to know that the company didn’t address it,” Murphy said. And that lack of action will likely create more employee turnover and less employee engagement.

    This article was originally sourced from Associations Now here and was written by Emily Bratcher. 

  • 25 May 2017 3:15 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    You’ve been hearing about rising generations for a while. First it was Millennials, now - Generation Z.

    But generational shifts have always been talked about as something kind of elusive and well into the future. The thing is, though, those generational shifts are happening now. And the real question is, is your association ready?

    As an association professional, you have to think about those generational shifts from two perspectives: first, from a workforce perspective, and second, from a membership perspective. What do younger generations want from your association? What are they expecting out of a workplace?

    As younger generations - Millennials and Gen Z-ers - secure a majority of the workforce, there are a few changes you’ll probably need to make at your association. Here are just a few:

    Workforce changes

    • Culture - Younger generations are known for “job-hopping.” Is that the new norm? Not necessarily. But in order to keep younger employees at your association, you’ll probably need to make a few culture changes. What do younger generations care about? Well two things in particular: flexibility and company values. Are you allowing your employees to come in early/leave early? Are you allowing them to work from home? If not, you may want to! And as far as company values go, define what those are (if you haven’t already) and let them be known. The more Millennials and Gen Z-ers can relate to those (and believe in those), the more likely they are to actually build a career at your organization.
    • Management style - Younger generations are just that - young. That said, when managing them, keep in mind that they’re looking for mentors - people who can guide them in their job/career. This is obviously very different from your Baby Boomer/Gen X-er employees, who are already established and just looking for dependable leaders. In order to successfully manage both, your management style must be agile.

    Membership changes

    • Communication style and outlet - When it comes to Millennials and Gen Z-ers as members, it’s important to understand that those generations have different communication preferences. They often prefer short, snackable content through digital means (email, social media, mobile apps, etc.). That said, if you’ve ever thought about using a particular social media platform - Instagram, for example - but brushed the idea off because your members “just weren’t there,” you may want to reconsider. You have a new generation of members (and potential members) now, and they’re hanging out on different sites/platforms.
    • Processes - If you’ve ever done something because “that’s the way it’s always been done,” now may be the time to re-evaluate those processes. We say this because younger generations often want things quickly - they’re the “one-click” generation. They’re used to just clicking on something, and bam, it’s theirs - whether it’s a shirt, a song, a membership, or something else entirely. Does your association make processes that seamless? Member applications and event registrations? If not, it might be time to turn to technology - not just to streamline processes for you, but for your members as well. (It’s all about that member experience!)

    This article was originally sourced from Associations Now here and was written by Callie Walker. 

  • 25 May 2017 3:06 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    Preserving relationships with former board members can be complicated, and the temptation to cut them off entirely is strong. But a sense of balance and inclusion can reduce feelings of meddling.

    When board members have ended their tenures, their tenures should end.

    That sounds painfully tautological, I know, but governance has a way of warping logic. Plenty of associations have had the experience of past volunteer leaders looking for ways to participate in the association’s work after the term ends. The enthusiasm is admirable, and nonprofitdom is acculturated to the notion of never turning away an enthusiastic volunteer. But often that participation involves dictating guidance to a governing body that can would like to handle its duties without extra unsolicited input from the people who used to be in charge.

    All of which is to say that it’s not surprising that John Barnes felt the need to put his foot down and deliver a firm message to those ex-board members: Go away.

    In a blog post last week titled “Association Board Leaders: Move Gracefully Off the Scene,” Barnes, President of Barnes Association Consultants, exhorted former volunteer leaders to “stop. Move on. Your time is done. Let other leaders come to the fore… New leaders, younger leaders.” Such exes can be available to offer advice, of course—if they’re asked. But mainly he encourages them to “see a movie, read a book, or take a walk in the park.”

    This is advice struck me as understandable, but a bit funereal—it’s the end of a board stint, not our last professional act before we shuffle off this mortal coil. And I do think former board members can play a valuable role (more on that in a moment). But I asked Barnes to clarify what he feels those leaders can do.

    First off, he says, associations would do well to dispense with past-president roles or similar caretaker positions. “Once a president has completed their service, he/she can make themselves available to answer questions or offer advice as the new president needs or the situation warrants.” And the president doesn’t need a formal board seat to play that role.

    Moreover, he adds, “I also have seen a number of occasions where the past-president has not behaved well and provided resistance to the president as they attempted to do their work and lead the board.” A board is very often a projection of the chair’s vision, and former chairs can often have a hard time seeing things through that lens. “Having [past presidents] sit on the board makes it more difficult for the board to move forward because the past president is present and people don’t want to suggest new changes if the past president’s feelings might be hurt,” he says.

    But the same sense of vision that can make former leaders seem as if they’re interfering—even meddling—is the exact reason why you can’t cut them off entirely. In 2015 I wrote about the experience of Steve R. Smith, CAE, executive director of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, who received some blunt pushback from a former board member who was feeling neglected after he’d wrapped up his term.

    The solution in AAHPM’s case was fairly straightforward: Former leaders didn’t so much want to work the association’s levers themselves so much as they wanted to know what leadership was doing, so Smith scheduled occasional informational calls with former past-presidents. And once informed, they’ve rarely felt moved to do anything that might qualify as interference.

    Barnes agrees that former board members can play roles with the association beyond waiting on standby for consultation. “A really great role for past-presidents is to serve on a committee/task force for the association,” he says. “Having a balance of older leaders with new young leaders on a committee often improves the work product and provides a mentorship possibility.”

    And he stresses that the urge to lead doesn’t have to end with that particular association. Former leaders, young and old, should consider leadership roles at other organizations—which, Barnes suggests, has a way of helping to support the one they just left. “I think [volunteering for another association] is often undervalued,” he says. “Having a former member leader volunteer at another association has the possibility of improving relationships and collaborations between organizations and spread positive news about your association.”

    This article was originally sourced from Associations Now here and was written by Mark Athitakis. 

  • 25 May 2017 3:00 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    So many associations have been trying to figure out how to keep their industries relevant as millennials and Generation Z replace baby boomers. One expert instructs associations to get these individuals to tell their stories, instead of simply pushing out their own.

    When kids are deciding to learn an instrument, the accordion is probably not their first choice—creating an industry challenge the Connecticut Accordion Association is trying to overcome.

    With its Bellows Open: The Great Squeeze Project, CAA is trying to increase awareness and interest in the instrument it celebrates by working with a local high school to introduce students to the accordion. After an initial presentation in December, any students who learned to play performed a concert together this past weekend.

    But the conversation around how to engage new generations isn’t particularly new—especially as millennials and Gen Z began entering the workforce. The focus has been on effectively sharing a message. But Lori Silverman, author of books like Business Storytelling for Dummies and owner of Partners for Progress, says engaging the next generation needs to be about co-creating stories.

    We’ve believed that storytelling is “solely about our ability to find the right story and to craft it in a compelling way that will make people resonate with our cause or with our group or with our industry sector,” Silverman said. “What’s true for everyone—especially with millennials—is that people want to engage with the story.”

    With that in mind, associations must give individuals the space for expression, for telling their own stories around an experience. Silverman calls it “creating the container. What’s the container we’re going to provide to allow people to either capture and share their own stories or to co-create stories with others of what could be?”

    Within that container, associations need to plant story prompts—open-ended phrases like, “Tell me about…” that encourage people to recall life events—as well as story triggers—a story or symbolic object provided with the sole intent of provoking stories from those who receive them. These allow members, or even nonmembers, to more deeply connect with the organization through the meaning inherent in their stories.

    Containers can take many forms and exist in different spaces. Silverman recommends associations consider, “What can we do to provide an experience that allows people to share or co-create stories that they then give back to us?”

    For example, an association can use the container of a survey with story prompts to gather members’ stories to inform marketing, conferences, or other functions. But to get members to dive deeper into their stories, it’s best to use in-depth interviews that employ special story listening techniques, Silverman explained.

    During a conference, associations can encourage attendees to create group videos about their experiences. Consider providing staging, settings, or props that participants can incorporate. “Give them the opportunity to create new stories in that moment,” Silverman said. “Let them be spontaneous and very present. Resist the need to be [overly planned] with what’s captured here.”

    Giving people the freedom to participate in the association’s storytelling creates deeper connections and lets them share that experience with others. While pursuing these means of engagement gives away some control over the direction and possibilities of the storytelling, associations should strategically design their container to ensure the intended purpose is still accomplished.

    “You cannot create these sorts of engagements without thinking through and testing your story prompts,” Silverman said. “You cannot give people prompts and triggers without having done your homework to learn, ‘What are the possible reactions we might get so we lessen an unintended, negative consequence to a positive action?’”

    This article was sourced directly from the Associations Now website here and was written by Alex Beall. 

  • 25 May 2017 2:52 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    During ASAE’s MM&C Conference earlier this month, association executives and industry partners took part in 24 learning labs, three keynotes, two preconference workshops and networked to up their game on digital, content and branding strategies. Here’s a guest blog article from Abila‘s Amanda Myers wrapping up the event in D.C.

    Although it’s not ASAE’s biggest show of the year, its Membership Marketing and Communications (MM&C) Conference almost always ranks at the top of my list. For starters, the targeted attendance creates more opportunities to connect with and learn from different organizations. In addition, I find myself walking away with not only strategic inspiration, but also practical tips and tricks that can make everyday life better.

    The keynotes were amazing! And there were also a lot of gems hidden in the individual sessions. Here are four of my favorite moments from this year’s event:

    • Find yourself in a conference full of marketing people and it’s inevitable: Content marketing will come up. One of the hottest trends seen in recent years, content marketing continues to be a topic that drives big crowds and meaningful conversation, and “Next-Gen Content Strategies for Associations” was no exception. Best takeaway? Understand that conversation is king – content is something to talk about, and curate the content that’s going to be the most meaningful to your members. Information is no longer a scarce resource; but focus, meaning and wisdom remain in shorter supply.
    • As someone who just hosted a webinar that included the term newsjacking, I knew a session whose title started with “. . . and then the New York Times called” was well positioned to capture my attention! By keeping a laser focus on message, when the opportunity presented itself, the American Academy of Periodontology got its point of view out to the tune of 2,084,758,975 impressions, including mentions from NBC News, The Today Show, NPR and The New York Times.
    • Today’s marketers are almost as obsessive about measuring their messages as they are about the messages themselves. But what should you actually be tracking? Aptify’s Dave Martin and Mike Skiados from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) not only shared “10 Marketing KPIs Every Association Should Be Measuring,” but Skiado outlined how his association worked within its engagement framework to provide a more meaningful picture of a member, based on his or her communications, activity, satisfaction, sentiment and promotion.
    • Change can be hard, and “Tipping a Sacred Cow” can take a lot of guts. Attendees to this Nexus Direct session learned quick tips for identifying sacred cows that may pose a risk to their own organization. These sacred cows may represent too much of your income; or indicate your organization is on auto-pilot (we’ve always done it that way); is driven by ideology; or lacks transparent, clear benchmarks and/or KPIs.

    Kudos to all the presenters for another year of remarkable content. If you’re interested in seeing what was discussed, handouts of the session are made available from ASAE here. I wonder what these thought leaders will be bringing to the table for annual this August in Toronto.

    This article was originally sourced from Associations Now here

  • 25 May 2017 2:45 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    The not-for-profit sector performs a vital role delivering services that meet important social needs. It provides a voice for some of our most disadvantaged groups and individuals. Not-for-profit status also allows organisations of professionals to represent their members under a regulated legal framework. The sector oversees the collection and expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars of other peoples’ money. So it’s critical NFP’s are well run according to the highest levels of good governance.

    A NFP company and a for-profit company are both corporate entities and the boards of both are subject to the same governance and legal requirements under the Corporations Law – acting in the best interests of the company, avoiding conflicts of interest, etc.

    The success of any organisation is dependent on the quality of its leadership. In both for-profits and not-for-profits effective leadership must start at board level. Boards select the CEO and set the tone of the organisation’s culture. They are ultimately responsible for its financial performance, its adherence to numerous laws and regulations and the achievement of its core purpose.

    Processes by which NFP board members are selected vary, but in many cases do not include a rigorous assessment of skills, and in particular a requirement to demonstrate an understanding of corporate governance principles. For this reason, many NFP organisations suffer at the hands of inexperienced directors who allow questionable actions on the part of co-directors, staff and volunteers and boards that fail to develop appropriate policies to ensure transparency and ethical behaviour.

    One of the perennial challenges for NFP boards is reconciling the respective roles of directors and management. The same issue exists in the for-profit sector, however the generally higher level of corporate governance knowledge limits the frequency of disputes on this score, as does the jointly shared imperative of delivering a profit.

    Some NFP boards appoint one of their number as an executive director rather than employ a CEO. This is especially common in smaller NFP organisations with limited financial resources. On other occasions a NFP might vest executive powers in their chair. Both options are entirely legal and reasonable according to the circumstances.

    However, difficulties can arise when a CEO is employed by an interventionist board or where the directors allow a non-executive chair to unnecessarily intervene in operational matters. For this reason good governance protocols and a transparent process established by a board cognisant of corporate governance principles is highly desirable.

    There are a variety of types of NFP director. This list is probably not exhaustive and of course some directors exhibit the characteristics of more than one of these types.

    1. Enthusiastic amateurs with great commitment

    Being an expert in the field of endeavour of an organisation is a valuable but insufficient qualification for board membership. In fact, in the absence of other relevant skills an overly passionate subject matter expert might not appreciate many of the risks associated with decisions being made. They may fail to see the ‘big picture’ and are likely to be overly keen on maintaining the status quo and resistant to change, especially when current circumstances favour them.

    2. Self-interested careerists

    Anyone looking to develop a career as a non-executive director will be advised to seek a NFP board appointment as a starting point. Others see a directorship with their respective professional association as something that “looks good on my resume”. People using their board role for career advancement are likely to avoid advocating or supporting the hard decisions often required at board level. They can be excessively prone to seeing issues through the prism of their personal experience or expectations.

    3. Conflicted owners of related businesses

    Directors owning or running businesses in the NFP’s field of endeavour carry an inherent conflict of interest. Boards should have processes in place to at least acknowledge conflicts, which should be routinely recorded in meetings minutes. However, acknowledgement is not necessarily sufficient to avoid unacceptable consequences. Conflicted directors should ideally not take part in discussions relating to the conflict and certainly should not be permitted to vote on them. In some cases an ongoing conflict of interest might justify disqualification from appointment or a requirement to resign. The most obvious example of an inherent conflict of interest is where a director, or an organisation with which they are involved receives income, directly or indirectly, from the organisation.

    4. Relevance deprivation syndrome sufferers

    Too often, people for whom life has not delivered sufficient career highs or other ego-satisfying achievements find consolation in a NFP board appointment. The problem here is that the very personality and behavioural weaknesses that have limited their progression thus far can be exhibited in dysfunctional board performances.

    5. Narcissists with menace

    Occasionally downright unreasonable people somehow make it on to NFP boards. The expression ‘two faced’ probably explains why these people are not necessarily seen for what they are by others with whom they’ve only had fleeting encounters. The problem here is there’s no easy mechanism for a board to modify the behaviour of narcissists with menace, much less remove them. The majority of their co-directors will often suffer in silence to the detriment of board performance and at the expense of the organisation.

    6. Well balanced individuals lacking sufficient knowledge and/or experience of corporate governance

    This category possibly describes the overwhelming majority of NFP directors. It’s for this reason that most NFP boards manage to do their job with fairly good overall effect. However, for the reasons discussed in this article they can hold back the board and the organisation from maximising their performance

    7. Well balanced individuals with well-honed knowledge and/or experience of corporate governance.

    Regrettably, there is often an insufficient number of people like this on NFP boards.

    NFP boards must ensure proper governance principles and processes are in place. Directors and prospective directors should be required to demonstrate minimum levels of corporate governance knowledge and experience, or a willingness to undertake governance training. Mandatory governance training would be a good idea, as would a review of board performance conducted by an external governance expert from time to time.

    Boards should also be required to pay greater attention to conflicts of interest on the part of their directors. They owe this to their members and to all those who benefit from or rely on the services they provide.

    It’s time for all levels of government to consider changes to relevant laws in order to achieve improved governance in the NFP sector. It’s time for NFP boards and their directors to have a good look in the governance mirror. And it would be a good idea for the members of NFP’s to critically assess the governance practices of their boards.

    This article was originally sourced from Laurie Patton here

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