This exciting collaboration between the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) and community organisations is swinging into action.  The first of six workshops to design the strategy will be held in Wellington on 11 and 12 March. 


“Each of the workshops will take two days and each will focus on just one of the six outcome areas identified for the strategy,” project manager Dr Jo Cribb says.  Jo wrote the 2019 report on NGO governance from the Superdiversity Institute and CSI that identified the need for strategy.  Following the launch of the report, a steering group was formed to support the kaupapa, and a project scope was taken out to funders. The initiative attracted the support of Auckland Council, Foundation North, Rātā Foundation, Grant Thornton, and the Department of Internal Affairs. 

“Each of these organisations saw the value of investing in the development of a strategy that would improve governance in a sector that generates an estimated $20 billion in annual income, and which delivers so many services to communities throughout the country.”

Content for the strategy will be generated by people from across the motu with NGO and community governance experience.

“We put a call out at the end of last year for volunteers with an interest in governance of not-for-profit organisations and the community sector to participate in workshops around the six outcome areas identified for the strategy,” Jo says.  “We were looking for a range of experience, from people who are involved with local sports clubs, environmental groups or social service agencies, through to people with experience in governance in regional or national organisations.

Over 80 people volunteered from across Aotearoa, and all have been invited to be part of the process.  The workshops are taking the form of design sprints.  Each sprint will draw on design thinking to define the problem and create and test actions.   The combined wisdom of the sprints will be included in the national strategy.

The first sprint, which will focus on engaging the broader governance community in valuing community governance, is being facilitated by Philanthropy New Zealand CEO, Sue McCabe.

For steering group chair Mele Wendt, the first sprint will provide an insight into the collective wisdom of a group of NGO governors.

“People involved in NGO governance in various sectors rarely have a chance to come together to share their experiences. The process of developing the strategy provides a unique opportunity for us to learn from people who invest so much of their own time to help New Zealand’s NGOs deliver for their communities.”

Steering group member Toni Kerr says the chance to participate in a multidisciplinary approach for such an important kaupapa is very appealing.

“We are looking forward to working alongside whānau and community focussed organisations.”

A principal advisor at Te Puni Kokiri, Toni sees a connection between the NGO and Community Governance strategy work, and work being done by TPK.

“At Te Puni Kōkiri, we’ve recognised that building capability can be a key enabler, particularly in the area of “grassroots” governance that is characterised by limited resources, high barriers to accessing funding and is not well served by current governance models. 

As such there is considerable alignment with the objectives of the project to deliver a governance solution that is relevant and meets the needs of whānau and communities.

An outline of the outcomes from each sprint will be available through the CSI website.  A draft of the national strategy, based on the content generated through the workshops, is expected to be completed in the second half of this year. 

Sprint schedule