Community Governance

To support and lift the capability of those in governance roles in the community, not-for-profit, and non-government sectors, the Centre for Social Impact is collaborating with a group of organisations to lead the development a national strategy for community governance.

The strategy will be developed around six outcome areas, which are outlined below.  Working groups will be established for each of the six outcome areas, and will come together between February and April 2020. The aim is to have all actions identified and collated into the national strategy by July 2020 and implementation from then on.

If you wish to be involved in the work in any of the outcome areas and/or can contribute your expertise in any other way, please contact us on

What’s behind the strategy

Community, not-for-profit and non-government organisations touch the lives of New Zealanders in many ways.  They provide services to the elderly, youth, vulnerable families and whānau.  They deliver much of what holds our communities together, such as sports, arts, education, environmental and cultural programmes. 

Governance members play important roles in helping these organisations develop their strategies, secure funding and ensure programmes and services are delivered.  While there is much impressive work being done by committees and boards, some members of governance groups are inadequately prepared and trained for their roles and receive limited ongoing support.

Some people and organisations are working hard to support and lift the capability of those in governance roles in the community sector.  But there is much more to be done and merit in working collectively to do so.

That is why in late 2018 Jo Cribb brought together a group of keen and like-minded organisations and individuals along with the Centre for Social Impact to discuss what could be done collectively to improve community governance in New Zealand. This included leading the development of a national strategy for community governance.

This initiative draws on years of knowledge and experience of community governance and supporting governance in the community sector; a survey of thousands of community organisations; two pieces of research based on expert interviews; several hui on governance; and conversations with a wide variety of community leaders, volunteers, regulators, providers, government agencies, and funders.

The goal of developing a national strategy is to strengthen, unify, enhance the value and support best practice in community sector governance.

Our vision is that all community/NFP organisations in Aotearoa are well governed.

We base our work on these principles:

  • We seek to support and amplify the work that is already existing, rather than duplicate.
  • Any actions delivered must meet community organisations where they are (in terms of their needs).
  • Actions will be practical and tangible.
  • We will take a community-led approach.

The Strategy will focus on the six outcome areas we have identified to enhance community governance capability:

  1. All community governance group members will have basic governance skills.
  2. All community governance groups apply their basic skills.
  3. Everyone values community governance.
  4. There is a strong pipeline of diverse, talented community governors.
  5. Best practice in community governance is shared and enhanced.
  6. Effective Chairs are supported and have opportunities for development.

To develop the Strategy, working groups will be established for each of the six outcome areas. These working groups will co-design actions and will be set up in early 2020 with the aim to have all actions identified by July 2020 and implementation from then on.

The group that initially came together is the steering group of the project. It is chaired by Mele Wendt MNZM and comprises organisations and leaders with interests and involvement in community/NFP/NGO governance.

The project is being supported by Auckland Council, Foundation North, Rātā Foundation, Grant Thornton, and the Department of Internal Affairs.

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