The content for the Diploma of Governance consists of 12 units.

This unit deals with the broad roles and responsibilities of board or committee members in not-for-profit (NFP) organisations. 

After completing this unit, learners will be able to: 

  • define governance 
  • summarise the roles and responsibilities of a board member  
  • understand the legal and ethical responsibilities of a board as an entity  
  • recall some of the legal obligations of different types of NFPs 
  • outline a healthy decision making framework 
  • identify key elements of an effective board meeting 
  • describe how governance differs from operations. 

This unit looks at the boards role in ensuring that the organisation’s constitution remains relevant, legal and understood, and meets the organisation’s changing needs.  

After completing this unit, learners will be able to :

  • define what a constitution is 
  • identify parts of a constitution in relation to a specific organisation  
  • recognise what should and shouldn't be in a constitution  
  • recall why a constitution is important 
  • identify the process a board undertakes to make the changes to a constitution. 

This unit explores some of the key elements that influence culture at both a micro and a macro level, from the board room to the national stage, from the way people speak to each other when making decisions in a board meeting to the broader systems that help establish cultural norms and parameters and inform and shape our national identity.

After completing this unit, learners will be able to: 

  • understand elements of Australian culture and their influence on governance 
  • identify the impacts of culture 
  • understand how First Nations culture influences participation in board and organisational culture 
  • identify the principles of self-determination for First Nations people 
  • determine the effects of cultural load 
  • approach intersectionality on boards with more confidence 

This unit looks at the board's role in stakeholder communication and engagement.

After completing this unit, learners will be able to :

  • review an engagement strategy and assess its effectiveness 
  • identify examples of public participation  
  • analyse and assess stakeholders using a matrix 
  • describe the board’s involvement in establishing a community engagement framework. 

This unit looks at strategic planning and how it can (and should) be done in any context – within large or small organisations that have or do not have paid staff, and that have or do not have plenty of resources.

After completing this unit, learners will be able to: 

  • describe key parts of a strategic plan 
  • develop and review the organsation’s values, vision and purpose 
  • identify factors that could affect a strategic plan 
  • apply a SMART approach to strategic objectives 
  • identify the right questions to ask and people to approach when undertaking strategic planning 
  • discuss the process undertaken to conduct a strategic plan for an organisation. 

This unit addresses organisational finances. It focuses on the board’s role in monitoring the organisation’s financial health.  

After completing this unit, learners will be able to: 

  • understand the financial roles and responsibilities of board members  
  • follow a finance management process and system confidently  
  • identify the difference between cash and accrual accounting systems 
  • analyse board financial reports 
  • recall end-of-financial-year reporting obligations. 

This unit explores how to create more diverse sources of income for your organisation.

After completing this unit, learners will be able to: 

  • confidently describe their organisation’s “why” 
  • understand the seven pillars of funding and the potential of each one for an organisation – including legal requirements 
  • understand the board's role in each pillar 
  • implement an ethical fundraising policy 
  • develop, implement and monitor a funding strategy. 

This unit delves into the steps of change management, understanding the need for change, developing a strategy, and implementing it effectively.

After completing this unit, learners will be able to: 

  • understand change management and the board's role 
  • understand the types of change and their associated different management approaches   
  • develop a change management strategy  
  • implement and review a change management strategy  
  • understand risk management obligations. 

This unit addresses the importance of good recruitment, induction and succession planning for CEOs to ensure continuity of an organisation is maintained and knowledge is not lost.    

After completing this unit, learners should be able to: 

  • establish a succession plan for the CEO and board members  
  • review board effectiveness  
  • establish a recruitment and selection process 
  • identify what is needed for a CEO onboarding process, including induction  
  • identify the roles and responsibilities of the chair in the management of the CEO  

This unit looks at the principles of communicating with stakeholders and the board’s role in a communication strategy.

After completing this unit, learners will be able to: 

  • outline the key principles of communicating with stakeholders 
  • develop a map of stakeholders 
  • draw from a range of communication techniques, tools and platforms 
  • recount the difference between communication and marketing 
  • outline the board's role in developing a communication strategy. 

This unit looks at how to identify, understand and resolve conflicts

After completing this unit, you should be able to:  

  • identify existing and potential conflicts 
  • understand the conflict situation 
  • use strategies to resolve conflicts.

Within this unit, different approaches and techniques to negotiation are explored to navigate various negotiation scenarios.

After completing this unit, learners will be able to:

  • understand the principles of negotiation
  • identify when to negotiate
  • feel more confident when conducting a negotiation
  • reflect on a negotiation and the techniques, policies and processes required

What people say...

“The Diploma has helped me mesh the legislated, strategic and operational functions of governance. I found the face-to-face teaching was perfectly supported by the course work, delivering immediate outcomes in both my professional and community endeavours.”
Alan, Business Manager, St James Lutheran College (QLD)
“The Diploma helped to make governance work for me - and hence helps to make it real and practical for the community I work with. The opportunity to share and work with others in similar situations and to learn with the excellent trainers is one not to be missed!”
Barbara, Community Strengthening Officer, South Gipsland Shire Council (VIC)
“I believe educators working in senior management roles would benefit greatly from this very practical and well taught Diploma.”
Graeme, Executive Principal, St Philip's Christian College (NSW)
“The number one thing I’ve gained out of the Diploma has been a much better understanding of the legislative and compliance requirements of the board. I’m confident now that I understand the various parts of good governance and compliance, and what I need to do to ensure we meet our requirements in those areas.”
Stephanie, Board Member, Youth Affairs Council of WA
“I undertook the Diploma to strengthen our organisation’s impact, increase transparency and to help build a best practice model we can share with the not-for-profit sector. Studying for the diploma was an excellent way to cement my current knowledge and practice and identify skills gaps.”
Rhyll, CEO, Western Chances (VIC)
“The Diploma brought together participants from a variety of careers and experience, making the classroom discussions highly personal. The course materials were very comprehensive and expertly used by our facilitator. The assessment tasks provided me with the opportunity to reflect on my experiences as a director and as an executive who has worked in both Not-for-Profit and corporate roles.”
Trent, Executive-in-Residence, St James Ethics Centre (NSW)
“The Diploma was terrific - it gave me a complete overarching framework; it matched what I was learning on the job and filled in gaps, such as understanding the importance of culture; it gave very useful templates and examples which I’ve taken out and used since. The course made me think and it improved my practice. I’m so pleased that I had the opportunity to do it and would strongly recommend it to others!”
Jocelyn, CEO, McAuley Community Services for Women (VIC)

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