Training Specialties

ICDA can provide off-the-shelf training for volunteers, staff members, board members and organisation leaders in the following areas of community practice (or any combination of these areas)

Boards, Governance and Leadership

This workshop explores the roles and responsibilities of board members. It covers the important fiduciary duties, and takes a dive into the Acts, Regulations, Codes and Policies that apply to organisations governed by a board or committee.

The workshop is a great refresher for the more experienced and a useful induction for new board members. We’ll cover the following, as well as answering all your questions:

  • Responsibilities of board members
  • Fiduciary duties
  • Governance versus management
  • Acts, Regulations, Constitutions and Policies
  • Codes of Conduct
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Risk management and insurance
  • Where to find the information and policies required to fulfil your role


Not For Profit and Community Organisations need their funding to come from as many sources as possible to ensure they can survive if any of the funding streams run dry. This workshop is an in-depth look at the many funding streams you could have at your disposal, and how to make the most of your chances of success. Workshops can be tailored to cover in-depth strategies for sourcing funding from grants, donations, crowdfunding, membership, events, sales or sponsorship.

  • The 7 pillars of funding
  • How to find funding
  • Creating your funding plan
  • Grants
  • Donations
  • Crowdfunding
  • Friends of schemes
  • Events
  • Earned income
  • Community-business partnerships
  • Preparing and promoting a case for funding

Grant Writing

In this workshop, participants are guided through the process of applying for a grant or funding proposal, using guidelines, templates and assessment criteria to create a compelling project plan. The creation of a realistic budget with in-kind contributions acknowledged, the use data and evidence to support the proposal, as well as the importance of creating timelines, backing letters and other evidence of community support are all covered. The workshop concludes with a question-and-answer session.

  • Where to find grants
  • Writing winning project plans: linking needs with solutions
  • Using data and evidence to support your project proposal
  • Creating realistic budgets
  • Showing evidence that you have the support of your community
  • Managing relationships and acknowledging funders
  • Acquittals and appeals

Financial Literacy (beginner and intermediate)

Overseeing the finances is probably one of the most important tasks of a board member, and organisations with financially literate boards are best placed to promote and fulfil their missions, regardless of the external environment. This workshop covers the questions boards should be asking about the finances and assists board members in reading and understanding the organisation’s financial reports. The workshop covers:

  • The role of boards in financial responsibility and accountability
  • Establishing a financial management structure
  • Establishing financial management processes and systems
  • Key financial reports: balance sheet, profit and loss statement, statement of cash flow, budgets
  • Revenue and spending risks
  • Trading insolvent
  • Meeting reporting requirements of relevant corporate authorities and funding bodies
  • Advising the community of the financial situation of the organisation

How-to: meetings, decisions and resolving conflict

Great decisions are made in well-run meetings. Meetings provide the space for board members and those who work with them to come together and steer the ship in the right direction. What improvements could be made to your meetings? Do they run too long? Are they hampered by conflict? In this workshop we’ll cover the following:

A how-to of meetings:

  • Ingredients of a good meeting
  • Roles and Responsibilities
  • Rules or Standing orders
  • Board papers and reports

Approach to decision making:

  • Decision making diagrams and tools
  • Agendas, minutes and the decision register

Conflict in meetings:

  • The causes of conflict
  • Ways to resolve conflict
  • The role of the Chair in resolving conflict
  • An agreement framework

Each topic can be delivered as a standalone 2-hour workshop, or combined into a longer session. Content can be tailored to incorporate running AGMs, taking minutes, or taking a deeper dive into resolving conflicts during meetings.

Strategic planning - what's our story?

As the old saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. Strategic planning is the process not-for-profit organisations undertake to ensure they stay purpose focused – and establish that they have the resources to make progress towards their goals. In this workshop participants are guided to establish a strategic planning framework and are given some tools to be able to tackle the task with minimum fuss.

The workshop covers:

  • Strategic story – the role of narrative (where have we been, where are we now, where are we going) in shaping the future
  • Developing and reviewing the organisation's values, vision and purpose
  • Analysing the internal and external factors that could impact on the organisation's planning
  • Establishing strategic objectives
  • Implementing and monitoring your plan
  • Evaluating strategic performance
  • Long-term strategic planning and adaptive strategic review
  • Linking the strategic plan to operational and business plans


Leadership is one of the most important roles for a board member, yet we don’t often pause to assess and develop our leadership skills. A deeper understanding of how you lead can result in a more strategic board with a clearer vision of the way forward. In this workshop we work through the following key questions:

Leadership theory

  • Different styles of leadership, and the benefits and challenges of each style
  • Flexible and adaptable leadership to different situations and understanding the people we work with
  • Ethics of leadership and holding the tension between what we have the right to do and what is right to do for our organisations and our people

Leadership and management

  • The role of a leader in managing up, down and sideways
  • Maintaining the long term strategic focus while also dealing with the day to day operations
  • Ensuring we are empowering and upskilling our team while balancing the need for efficiency and productivity
  • Effectively supporting effective governance at every level of organisational leadership

Self-care in leadership

  • Being aware of signs of stress and burn out, and effectively managing stress
  • Tools and strategies to support sustainable leadership
  • Building peer networks

Each topic can be delivered as a standalone 2-hour workshop, or combined into a longer session.

Effective Mentoring

Mentoring is useful for anyone who is in a new role or new organisation, or seeking a change they wish to access guidance about or reflections on.​ Every organisation has its unique culture, norms, and dynamics so mentoring can help a new board member understand the organisation’s mission, culture, its history, and the way decisions are made.

This workshop will cover:​

  • Introduction to skilled mentorship
    • Importance of mentorship in driving social impact
    • Defining the role of a skilled mentor
    • Understanding mentee needs
  • Mentoring strategies and techniques
  • Cultural awareness and inclusivity
  • Overcoming challenges in mentorship
  • Building a lasting mentorship relationship
  • Action planning and next steps

Project management and oversight (on a shoestring)

Project management is like steering the ship for your charity mission.​​

It's the art of planning, organising, and guiding your projects to success. Think of it as your trusty roadmap. You'll set clear goals, figure out who's doing what (and when!), and keep a close eye on the budget. ​

​This workshop will cover:

  • What is project management?​
  • Scope​, timeline​, quality​, cost​
  • Human resources​
  • Risk management​
  • Information management and communications​
  • Procurement​
  • Stakeholder engagement​
  • Governance​
  • Three models of project management

Communication: How to tell your story to stakeholders

Getting the message out about your group or organisation – its aims, activities and attitudes – is crucial in ensuring the public know what your group does, what it believes in and what it is working towards. Join us at this workshop for top tips for good communication and building your plan for communicating with your users, the media and other stakeholders.

  • Understanding your audience and your message
  • How to develop a communications plan – what, who, why and how
  • How to get your message out there – media, social media, networking
    • Dealing with the media
    • Social media platforms – pros and cons
    • The role of networking and volunteers
  • Simple ways to improve any copy
  • Communication resources, policies and procedures

Climate Change: tools for tackling our changing environment

The environment is changing, and board members are among those on the front lines of mounting a response.

In this workshop we outline what it means to join the circular economy, and how to move towards net zero emissions.

We look at ways to ensure your organisation is meeting its environmental responsibilities and what you can do to help our natural world heal.

In this workshop we provide ideas, support, and share organisational case studies tailored for your sector:

  • What environmental challenges do we face?
  • How can we cut our emissions?
  • How can we improve management of materials and resources?
  • How can we minimise waste and pollution?

Unlocking the potential of your not-for-profit organisation

The needs of our communities are changing, and our organisations need to be responsive to this. In this workshop we'll help you focus on the steps you can take to use an entrepreneurial mindset and unlock the potential of your organisation. The workshop covers:

  • Evaluating current business activities for viability and future potential
  • Canvasing community and other stakeholders for business ideas and options
  • Seeking government and expert advice where appropriate
  • Identifying and analysing potential markets/ using feasibility studies
  • Creating, implementing and evaluating business plans that take account of local cultural and community requirements
  • Legal issues: what we can and can’t do
  • Inspiring case studies and where to go for help and resources

First Nations community engagement

For tens of thousands of years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have inhabited and cared for the lands and waters of Australia, and this connection to Country has significant spiritual, social & cultural importance. This introductory workshop is designed to build understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and culture and provide guidance around opening a respectful dialogue, inviting participation and establishing effective partnerships with First Nation peoples from your community who may wish to contribute or become involved in your organisation.

*Please note that this training was developed in consultation with First Nations advisors and is delivered by non-First Nations trainers to support non-First Nations board directors and staff.

Topics that we will explore include:

  • Welcome & acknowledgement of Country
  • Connection to Country and Kin
  • Supporting Aboriginal self-determination in organisational practices
  • Impact of colonisation
  • Understanding and practicing cultural humility
  • Policies and training to support First Nations inclusion and engagement

Governance training for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations

This workshop explores the key roles and responsibilities of board members and is designed to support NFP Aboriginal Corporation leaders to understand legislative and regulatory requirements and unpack the principles that sit behind good governance while reinforcing cultural strengths and governance models that exist within communities.

In broad terms the workshop will address:

  • What is governance & why is it important?
  • Roles and responsibilities of board directors
  • Is this legal? What sits behind us?
  • What’s in a constitution – why do we need one?
  • How does the governance model work – who does what?
  • Values based leadership – what does that look like?
  • Decision making – why are we meeting?
  • How are we going? Reflecting and learning on the journey

Gender equality, diversity and inclusion

Fifty-fifty representation is equal, and anything else isn't good enough. Whilst some gains have been made for gender equality, it's also important to remember that the push for it is far from over. Community directors need to lead by example and strive for gender equality.

This workshop focuses on what steps you need to take to achieve gender equality on your boards and in your workplaces.

  • Why focus on gender equality and inclusion?
  • The gender lens and stereotypes
  • The statistics: pay, employment, women’s time, board representation across the sector, board executive roles
  • The glass ceiling and the glass cliff
  • What can you be doing in your organisation?
  • Mentoring, sponsorship, quotas, pathways
  • What supports are out there?

Governance training for multicultural audiences

Note: We have complementary helpsheets in Dari, Arabic & Vietnamese available

This workshop discusses the role of board members. It covers off who can be a board member, provides a greater understanding of the board and staff relationships to give multicultural audiences the confidence to apply for a board position.

We cover off:

  • What do board members do
  • Board and staff relationships
  • Governance vs. management
  • The partnership between boards and management
  • Roles and responsibilities – who does what
  • Building a healthy culture

Cyber Safety

With all these cyber security risks creating potentially rich pickings for cyber criminals – and the potential for serious reputational damage – not-for-profit board directors have a critical role to play in asking the right questions of their organisational leaders. To do this, accountability, clear policies and risk assessment are critical. To support this, the following are covered:

  • What are your biggest threats?
  • Are your systems fit for purpose?
  • What data is held, and where is it held? What are the risks of this?
  • How does your culture protect your safety or expose you to threats?
  • Crisis management of a cyber attack

Artificial Intelligence (AI Governance)

Artificial intelligence (AI) has enormous potential to benefit community organisations. However, its use also brings risks.

Boards are responsible for being aware of these risks and managing them, in relation to their own decision-making processes and in relation to the organisation’s use of AI generally.

Boards should be aware of the limitations and potential biases of AI-generated content and should always draw on human expertise and ethics as well as AI when making AI-assisted decisions.

To mitigate risks, community boards should establish clear guidelines for the use of AI systems, ensuring human oversight, fact-checking procedures, transparency in decision-making processes, and ethical considerations.

In this workshop we will go through in more detail what some of those risks are and what we can do about them.

Impact evaluation

An organisation which can use its data effectively will be able to tell a compelling story of relevance and success to potential funders, supporters and stakeholders. Impact evaluation does not have to be expensive and can be done on a shoestring by putting a few systems in place. Every not-for-profit organisation collects information, and often, an evaluation can be carried out, using just the information you are collecting anyway.

  • What data do you currently collect?
  • What is an outcome versus an output?
  • What are you trying to impact?
  • How will you ascertain how impactful your activities are?
  • Who oversees collecting the data?
  • Who oversees interpreting the data?
  • What data might you need, to answer the questions you have got about your impact?

Four Day Work Week and Productivity Hacks
- What, why and how?

The opportunity to make the world – or at least one small corner of it – a better place is what draws many people to the not-for-profit sector. Whether it involves making a difference in the area of climate change, youth, diversity, community, sport, health, animal welfare or something else, working in the NFP sector means having a strong sense of purpose. It means being heavily invested in the work.

If workers aren’t careful to draw clear personal boundaries, and if workplaces don’t have good policies in place to preserve work–life balance, that can lead to long hours, high stress levels and even burnout.

At the Institute of Community Directors Australia, one policy in place to help staff manage their work-life balance is the four-day week. All full-time staff work four days per week, not five, with no increase in daily hours and no reduction in pay. The policy has been an outstanding success in terms of company productivity and staff satisfaction.

Not every employer in Australia is willing or able to offer a four-day week. But there are plenty of lessons to be learned from the ICDA experiment that can be applied anywhere. Here are our tips for doing more work in less time. It’s a first step towards freeing up space for family, friends and fun away from work.


  • What is a Four Day Work Week?
  • Preparation timeline
  • Change management
  • Giving it a go
  • Productivity Hacks to support success

Succession planning & board effectiveness

Succession planning is about much more than just replacing board members when they leave. It is about planning recruitment, induction and retention so that you can deal with changes in personnel without destabilising the overall governance of your organisation. Indeed, in a healthy, effective organisation, succession planning is part of a continual process of reviewing, renewing and revitalising the organisation. In this respect, good succession planning is about the healthy maintenance and handover of collective wisdom, and it thereby ensures the continuity and evolution of organisational knowledge and purpose.

In this workshop we will explore:

  • Developing a strategic succession plan – how?
  • Who and where are our future board members?
  • Building a diverse, complimentary board
  • Creating a healthy induction process
  • Retaining board members
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of the board

Diversity and inclusion in the boardroom

This workshop will explore models for ensuring that your board is an inclusive place for diverse community members. This workshop will cover:

  • The benefits of a diverse board
  • What does it mean to have a psychologically safe board
  • Examining board practices and enhancing inclusion
  • How to ensure your board meetings are inclusive
  • Recruiting and onboarding diverse board members

Change management

Change is a constant in today’s fast-moving world. It affects us all and can have a big impact on the way we structure and conduct our business.

Change management is the art and science of recognising when change is needed, how to structure a change project and how to effectively respond to externally imposed change.

Organisations that are “change ready” flex to take advantage of changes in their environment.

We explore the following to help boost your change management skills:

  • Recognising and understanding the various types of change
  • Leading change from within
  • Responding to externally imposed change
  • Using frameworks and models to achieve successful change
  • Evaluating change projects

Ethical governance

Ethical governance refers to a values-based approach rather than a rules-based approach. This means that good ethical governance can be harder to define than governance that just focuses on complying with legislation and regulations.

Ethical governance relates to the culture of the organisation in how it goes about the business of what it does.

It is easier to attract staff, partnerships, alliances and funding if you are seen as reputable and ethical.

In this workshop, we’ll work through the basics of ethical governance and what the board can do to ensure that this permeates through the whole organisation.

We’ll cover:

  • Organisational documents to support ethical organisations
  • Supporting ethical decision making
  • Accountability and communication to members and stakeholders – who needs to know what?
  • Cultivating a culture of transparency – empowering the board and staff to make and own their mistakes

Lived experience/community voice on non-for-profit boards

Ensuring that the community you represent has a voice within your board is a critical part of maintaining legitimate governance for your organisation. This workshop will explore models for ensuring that community voice is an effective part of the decision-making framework that your board uses.

This workshop will cover:

  • The benefits of having people with lived experience on your board
  • Models of two-way governance
  • Making board meetings inclusive and having every opportunity to succeed
  • Communication tools to support full participation
  • Putting people at ease with meetings outside the boardroom
  • Establishing user-led committees to represent all voices of service users, not only one person.
  • Recruiting and onboarding board members with lived experience

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