The Book of the Board: Effective governance for non-profit organisations, 3rd Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Book of the Board

Effective governance for non-profit organisations, 3rd Edition

By David Fishel

Federation Press

256 pages

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The Book of the Board has become Australia's standard reference book for board and committee members of non-profit organisations. It provides clear guidance on the role of the board, formal and legal responsibilities, and the ways in which the board can maximise its effectiveness for the organisation.

Much is changing in the non-profit world, and this third edition of the Book has been designed with that in mind. New material has been added on the competitive environment, on strategic planning, on risk management and on fundraising. Significant contributions have been added from several specialists. Particular revisions and amendments include:

  • In-depth interviews with four of Australia's most experienced board members - David Gonski, Rupert Myer, Heather Watson and Simon McKeon
  • Expert contributions and opinion pieces on topics such as fundraising; improving board effectiveness; technology and governance; and impact investing from, amongst others, Frankie Airey, Dr Pieter-Jan Bezemer, Cathy Hunt, Elizabeth Jameson, Myles McGregor-Lowndes and Gavin Nicholson
  • Newly edited charts and diagrams throughout, providing easy reference on key topics
  • New checklists and resources.


Reviews of previous editions:

'… energetic and dynamic, demonstrating an enthusiasm for the subject that will be encouraging for both prospective board members and those who are unfamiliar with the sector. …an indispensable resource for anyone who wishes to more fully understand the intricacies of the governance of non-profit organisations.' - Julia Duffy, Better Boards

'…this book is a refreshing text on the issue of governance in the not-for-profit sector. With a strong emphasis on the social context of the task and a lot of sensible advice regarding process to boards, CEOs, and even exectuive staff, not-for-profit organisations are effectively located in their true context.' - Arena Magazine, Number 99, February-March, 2009

'This book is a must-have for members of non-profit boards who want to develop a better understanding of what being on a board is all about and how to improve their board's performance….If you are serious about building your board's capability, read and use this book.' - Law Institute Journal of Victoria, March 2009

'A practical and common sense guide to day-to-day administration. It is comprehensive… Most useful is the final section which is simply titled 'Resources'. It is best described as comprising ready reference tools which encapsulate the essence of points being made throughout the book, such as a meeting procedure, a discipline policy, draft position descriptions, recruitment checklist and a risk assessment overview. … [It] contains many time-saving templates and checklists that will be constantly used.' - Australian Law Librarian

'You generally won't find books on governance jostling for space among the best sellers with the latest Bryce Courtenay or coffee table cookbooks but here's one that should. …There are so many positive features of Fishel's book that it is hard to know where to start. …Within its less than 300 pages, the book manages to encompass all of the major concerns of not-for-profit boards. The language is clear and lively and even complex issues are laid out with simplicity. The interviews and case studies are relevant and illustrative.' - SACOSS News

'Fishel's book should be standard issue for all Boards in the not-for-profit sector and the set text for any new recruits being inducted into membership.' - Educare News

'From the outset, Fishel presents considered and well-balanced strategies for implementing systems of good management that enable executives and board members to operate in confidence.' - Lawyers Weekly

'This book was an interesting and easy read that I expect to return to when I think about my contribution on boards. Legal practitioners who are called to serve on or advise boards will find useful current content.' - Ethos, Law Society of ACT, December 2008

Table of Contents

Introduction 1.The Job of the Board 2.Strategic Direction (An Interview with Rupert Myer AM ) 3.Compliance (Elizabeth Jameson, adapted by David Fishel) 4.Risk and Reward (An Interview with Heather Watson) 5.Board Information and Decision-making 6.CEO and the Board 7.Chairmanship (An Interview with David Gonski AC) 8.Fundraising ('Look Upstream for Fundraising Growth' by Frankie Airey, Philanthropy Squared) 9.Monitoring Performance 10.Accountability (An Interview with Simon McKeon AO) 11.Building the Team 12.Is the Current Board Model Sustainable? 13.Thought Pieces/Leader Articles (Gavin Nicholson and Pieter-Jan Bezemer: Why Have a Governing Body?, Leigh Tabrett: When Government is the Main Stakeholder, Elizabeth Jameson: Reinventing NFP Governance for the 'Big Data' World, Cathy Hunt: The Growth of Impact Investing and its Implications for the Board, Myles McGregor-Lowndes: The ACNC's New Governance Rules)

About the Author

David Fishel is a Director of Positive Solutions, a consulting firm specialising in the cultural and non-profit sectors. He has been a board or Council member of several cultural and educational organisations, including Circa, Creative Enterprise Australia, QUT, and the Brisbane Writers Festival.

David has been involved in the development of national training programs for board members in the UK and Australia. He is the founding Director of BoardConnect, a non-profit organisation established to provide advice and support for the board members and CEOs of non-profit organisations throughout Australia.

David has facilitated strategic planning and organisational development for cultural, health, Aboriginal, sports, educational and other organisations.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Nonprofit Organizations & Charities