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Insights from the Not-for-profit Governance Survey


The Institute in early 2019 conducted a fresh study of governance in the not-for-profit sector, opening the ICDA Not-for-Profit Governance Survey to organisations nationally.

The ICDA study, conducted over February and March 2019, is creating a snapshot of the top issues affecting the governing boards of not-for-profits, after we quizzed leaders on organisational performance, barriers and opportunities across governance, finance, data, development and fraud.

We’ll be releasing the full results late this year, and publishing a series of Spotlight reports into selected themes. We’ll add them to this page as they are available. Survey respondents and ICDA-members will be sent them via email.





SPOTLIGHT REPORT 6: Board Inductions

Nearly half of Australia's not-for-profits are giving their key leaders - including treasurers, secretaries and chairs - a poor induction into their organisation, ICDA Spotlight Report: Board Inductions shows. The implications are stark, with the same study finding that leaders are six times more likely to fail to fully understand their role if their induction is poor. Download the report now

SPOTLIGHT REPORT 5: Not-for-profit Finances

Australia’s not-for-profits are almost evenly split between thriving organisations and battlers when it comes to their finances, a study into not-for-profit governance shows.  The ICDA Spotlight Report: Not-for-Profit Finances reveals 54% of organisations are in good financial shape, whereas of the “battlers”, 31% are “just breaking even” and 15% are struggling. Download the report now

SPOTLIGHT REPORT 4: Fraud & Cybercrime

Thousands of crimes targeting Australia's not-for-profits are going unreported, a detailed study into not-for-profit governance has revealed. According to the study, asset theft and cyber-hacking are the most common crimes suffered by not-for-profits, followed by credit card fraud and cash thefts. Download the report now

SPOTLIGHT REPORT 3: Board & CEO Performance

Sixteen percent of boards have never reviewed their CEO's performance, and a third don't have a system for reviewing their own performance. Half of the board members say they'd benefit from governance training. Download the report now

SPOTLIGHT REPORT 2: The View from the Chair

Nearly all chairs enjoy their role as a board member and are planning to stay in their position, but the majority say they would benefit from more governance and fundraising training. According to the survey most chairs are women, although men are over-represented when compared to their number. Download the report now

SPOTLIGHT REPORT 1: NFPs missing data train

More than one in 10 not-for-profits doesn't bother tracking its success, while one in four say they don't collect any type of data, with arts, culture, sport and recreation groups the least likely to measure their success. And while there's clearly a long way to go, the study reveals that most organisations are collecting data and using it to track their results. Download the report now

TOP COMMENTS: Winners sum up sector mood

We've recently finished a survey of nearly 1900 not-for-profit groups to create a snapshot of key issues affecting boards across Australia and awarded some of the best comments, such as: "Charities are charged with solving some of the greatest social problems, yet social ignorance demands they do it for free.” Read more.

THE QUESTIONS: Download all our questions

Some organisations that missed out on the survey have even asked us for the questions again, so they can quiz themselves to help assess their own performance. You can download them here.

Why we’re doing this study

As the nation's top trainer and advocate for community directors, ICDA continues to press for improvements in the way we help board members.

The results will guide the Institute's work in education, resourcing and advocacy, and we'll be sharing results to boost public knowledge about not-for-profit sector governance.

"There are more than 600,000 not-for-profits in Australia - it's a huge and hugely important sector, yet there remain big gaps in our knowledge about the needs, desires, frustrations and expectations the leaders of those organisations hold," said ICDA executive director Patrick Moriarty.

"We're confident our report will yield practical results for our members and the wider sector."

The latest survey follows a 2015 study on governance, which will act as a baseline.

Who was involved in the study?

The survey was open to any person who has served on a not-for-profit sector board/committee/council during the past 12 months, or any person who has worked in an official capacity to support a board/committee/council over the past 12 months (e.g. CEOs, Managers).

Anyone completing the survey was expected to have a thorough understanding of their organisation's governance activities.

Our terminology

In the study and our reports, we use the word “board” to represent any governing body (including trusts, committees of management, councils, etc.). We use the word “not-for-profit” to represent any community group, trust or other not-for-profit organisation.

We use the word “CEO” to represent an organisation’s head person, whatever term is used (including Director, General Manager, Manager, etc).

Stay in touch

Have your say about this study on Facebook at Not-for-profit Happy Hour Australia or by visiting the ICDA Facebook page.

If you’d like to be notified about further Spotlight reports as they’re released, become a member of the Institute of Community Directors Australia.

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