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  • Kathryn Cosgrove

Everything you wanted to know about non-profit governance*

*(but were afraid to ask...)


We're launching a series of articles this week. We've been collecting questions for a Frequently Asked QUestions blog, but realize that there are too many questions to answer in one post. It's a series! Or a library....


Where can non-profit directors and executive directors turn to answer some of those questions? Ideally, they can come here and post a questions. We will respond and share in an article - hopefully one a day for a month.


Here are a few questions to get us started, mainly coming from non-profit board members and Executive Directors:

  • What is the difference between staff and contract employees? What is their relationship to the board?

  • How should staff and employees engage directly with the board? Some staff feel like they should be allowed to attend board meetings and have a representative.

  • When an organization has a national mandate, which provincial labour laws are applicable?

  • What is the difference between a governance board and an operational board?

  • What happens when a decision was made at a board meeting, but you forget to ask for a motion and vote?

  • What if a resolution was voted on but it wasn't documented in the minutes?

  • When is something to be motioned and voted upon? When can the board just discuss and move on?

  • What is the relationship between the board and Executive Director?

  • How does the board ensure that Executive Director performance reviews occur and are meaningful?

  • Our strategic plan expired in 2019. With COVID-19 and other issues, the Executive Director hasn't had time to work on a new one. What should the board do?

  • As a new director, I have a lot of questions that I want to ask about certain topics but I find the Executive Director is a bit defensive. I don't want to create any issues but I'm feeling a bit awkward. What should I do?

We had no idea you had so many questions! Do some of these sound familiar?

Do you have anything else on your mind? Ask away... there are no small or silly questions. Comment below.

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