Your Board, Staff and Volunteers

A range of people develop, manage and deliver your organisation's services and programs. It may be difficult to recognise all those who contribute to the work of your organisation. It is important to map:

  • The roles, functions, and expertise of each person involved in your organisation
  • The skills, ability, and willingness of each person to contribute to your funding strategy and activities, including application writing
  • Your organisation's decision-making and risk management procedures.

The information acquired will help:

  • Develop the organisational capacity section of your funding application (see Demonstrating Your Organisation's Strengths
  • Enable team members to participate in development of the organisation's funding strategy and applications
  • Assure funders that your organisation has appropriate decision-making processes in place and is able to manage any organisational and/or program/service risks

Enabling all members of your organisation to contribute to decision-making processes, participate in developing the organisation's funding strategy, and improve their capacity to develop funding applications will contribute to your organisation's sustainability (see Funding Development Team).

The material below will help you:

  1. Map the qualifications, skills, organisational knowledge, and commitment to organisational growth of all those who contribute to your organisation
  2. Develop short biographies for your Board members and staff
  3. Define staff roles and responsibilities necessary to deliver your proposal.


In recent years there has been a shift in the public sector, which has flowed on to the non-government agencies they fund, to adopt a private sector approach to governance. Governance is about good decisions being made by the right person and the systems and/or processes involved when making and implementing decisions. 

Effective governance in the non-government alcohol and other drug sector is a growing requirement for many organisations, particularly where funding is provided by government. It is well recognised that effective governance:

  • Provides leadership and direction to the organisation
  • Ensures proper processes and structures are in place so the organisation can operate effectively and efficiently
  • Positively impacts the success of organisational funding strategies.

As the governance structures which underpin your organisation impact the sustainability of your organisation, you will need to demonstrate to funders that your organisation:

  • Has appropriate governance structures
  • Is a "safe bet".

In your funding application, provide funders with a copy of your organisational structure to demonstrate you have defined staff roles and responsibilities, financial, ethical, and appropriate business practices.

Remember: There is no ideal way of conceptualising governance and no "one best way" to structure  a Board of Directors. For more information about governance models for your organisation see: 

Why is good governance important?

Good governance is important because it:

  • Enhances community confidence in your organisation
  • Increases staff confidence in contributing to organisational decision-making
  • Allocates responsibility and increases transparency in decision-making processes
  • Leads to better decisions by ensuring decisions are supported by quality data and reflect the broad interests of the community and stakeholder views
  • Helps non-government organisations meet their legislative responsibilities
  • Provides an ethical basis for decision-making where Board members ask themselves "what is the right thing to do?" when making decisions.

There are many things that a non-government organisation must have in place to demonstrate good governance. For indicators of good governance see the table below. 

Indicators of Good Governance

Characteristic Indicator
Accountable An obligation  to report, explain and be answerable for the consequences of decisions.
Transparent Decision-making processes are clear and easily understood. This includes information about how and why decisions are made, what information and advice is considered, the level of consultation, and which legislative requirements are followed.
Legal Decisions are consistent with relevant legislation or common law. See Organisational Compliance for more information.
Responsive Decisions are made in a timely and appropriate manner taking into account the needs and expectations of community, clients, funders, and staff.
Equitable, inclusive, and participatory

Community well being is enhanced when community members are considered and provided with opportunities to participate in the decision-making process.

It is important to remember that under some legislation and funding requirements, there will be an obligation to consult with the local community and clients as part of a quality assurance process.

Effective and efficient Decisions are implemented and follow processes which make the best use of the available people, resources and time to ensure the best possible results.
Leadership and vision-building All staff members know and reflect the organisation's values. Team members are involved in building the organisation's reputation in the community.
Ethical codes and practices All staff members engage with consumers and the community in an ethical manner.
Board structure and operations Board roles and functions are clearly documented and meetings are held regularly. Structure and functions must comply with all relevant legislation.
Organisational plans and operational policies A comprehensive set of policies related to the management of the service and the operation of the Board have been developed. Policies are clear, concise, easy to understand and comply with all relevant legislation. Policies and procedures are available to all staff.
Risk assessment and management A comprehensive list of risk assessmet and mitigation policies and procedures have been developed and are regularly monitored and reported on.
Managing employees and monitoring performance Policies and procedures have been developed to assist managers and staff to be more accountable and comfortable about their decisions. Policies and procedures can also help when providing constructive feedback to staff and ensuring that better decisions are made in the future.
Compliance measures

A governance compliance report should form part of the Manager’s report to every Board meeting. A compliance report is a tool that assists the Board to ensure that its governance responsibilities are being met.

It is important for the Board to have checklists and a calendar to help them monitor compliance. See the activities below.

Creating and delegating authority When making important decisions, it’s important to have the right person making them. Establish clear lines of authority to guide your employees to recognise the decisions that they can and cannot make on their own.

Cultural Challenges with Governance

Community controlled organisations often have cultural and organisational features that offer advantages when delivering healthcare to their communities. However, when implementing managerial systems that derive from a different cultural foundation they may experience challenges (NIDAC, 2013). The Australian Government Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) Website and Indigenous Governance Toolkit may assist Indigenous community controlled health organisations implement managerial systems which:

  • Meet the local community's needs
  • Operate within a competitive funding environment that expects specific organisational arrangements. 

Measuring Governance

Equally important to establishing a system of governance is measuring how well your governance structure operates. For more information about how to measure your organisation's governance structure, see:

Team Roles in Securing Funding

Everyone involved in your organisation has a role to play in securing funding. Although their roles are different, each person must be equipped with the information and resources necessary to successfully execute their function. The image below depicts some of the different questions which may be asked by those involved in your organisation. This image was taken from the Share Well and Prosper Website.

Board Members

Board members are important advocates and supporters of your organisation. Recruit Board members who:

  • Are experts in their field
  • Will take on a leadership role
  • Will promote your organisational strengths to the community, potential collaborators, and funders.

Involve Board members in:

  • Developing your funding strategy
  • Undertaking promotional activities
  • Creating your proposal
  • Reviewing your funding application.

Effective and efficient Board members are leaders who:

  • Spearhead your organisation's funding development strategy
  • Are knowledgeable, adaptable, and continuously learn
  • Promote the values and vision of the organisation rather than their independent belief systems
  • Generate community goodwill and inspire staff to achieve organisational goals
  • Foster organisational development and build staff capacity to contribute to funding development activities
  • Facilitate the ongoing process of developing, sustaining, and renewing relationships with staff, community, clients, and funders.

Leadership is a critical component of effective infrastructure. To inform funding bodies about the capacity of the Board, map:

  • The composition and role of the Board in organisational affairs and the governance proces
  • The qualifications and skills of Board members
  • The way in which the Board conducts its affairs
  • How the Board discharges its accountabilities to stakeholders.


The management team is responsibile for:

  • Implementing the strategic frameworks and policy directions created by the Board
  • Managing the operational functions of the organisation
  • Implementing the funding development strategy by:
    • Rewarding critical thinking
    • Encouraging dialogue and shared decision-making
    • Ensuring individual and team learning
    • Building adaptive capacity
    • Accepting uncertainty and complexity
    • Encouraging staff to meet their funding activities performance indicators (see Funding Development Team).

Staff Members

Staff should be involved in developing and implementing the organisation's funding strategy (see Funding Development Team). They should:

  • Know their organisation's vision and mission statements
  • Understand the future directions of their organisation
  • Participate in organisational planning activities
  • Collaborate with other organisations
  • Contribute to writing funding applications.

Involving staff may assist in:

  • Building organisational capacity
  • Utilising personal skill sets which may be undervalued
  • Connecting individual goals with organisational goals
  • Generating innovative ideas and directions.


Volunteers can be critically important to non-profit organisations. They often have diverse skill sets which may extend the reach, capacity, and capability of your organisation. Enabling and empowering volunteers to participate in your organisation's funding strategy can help to develop a broad funding base.

Partners and Collaborators

Take a broad look at the way your organisation operates to identify potential collaborations, individual or organisational supporters, and funding opportunities.

Partnering with other non-government organisations and local businesses may be useful to:

  • Secure scarce monetary resources
  • Enhance quality and reduce cost
  • Achieve a greater impact across the community.


  • Your organisation's track record of collaboration
  • How the work complemented each other
  • What the outcomes and benefits were.

In funding applications, include the above details as well as a memorandum of understanding (MOU), letter of support or intent if you are collaborating with another organisation. 

GROUND RULES: Things to work through with collaborators

  • Expectations
  • Ethical standards
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Nondisclosure agreements
  • Noncompetition agreements
  • Patent/copyright/ intellectual property agreements
  • Memoranda of Understanding

TIPS: Your Board, Staff and Volunteers

To save time in writing funding applications, save a copy of your:

  • Organisational structure in your project funding resource folder
  • Organisation's board members to your project funding resource folder

Developing collaborations take time!




Complete the activities below by en​tering text into the fields provided and/or completing the attached documents. If you download and complete an attached document, you will have to save this to your personal file.

You may also:

  • Export these answers: You may export your answers to the activities to a word document without saving to Your Funding Portfolio. Responses can then be saved in your personal files
  • Print this page: Users may print the page
  • Save and continue to next step: Users may save their responses to a secure server before continuing to another section of the resource. Users may then export and print all their saved responses from Your Funding Portfolio
  • Save progress: Users may save their responses as they work on the page.

Activity 2.4.1 Develop a Skills Profile

Conduct a skills audit to:
Ascertain both generic/soft and specialist skills your team may possess
Highlight the skills required and analyse your organisation’s gaps and development needs
Match staff and volunteers to their areas of development and expertise
Determine which skills and areas your organisation must invest in to reach its funding targets
Enhance your team’s ability to work together and draw on each other’s strengths.

Have all employees (including Board members) and volunteers complete an individual skills audit (see the attached document for more information).

2.4.1.pdf (154 KB)

Activity 2.4.2 Develop Short Biographies

To save time in writing funding applications, complete the attached document to develop a “staff member skills template”.

2.4.2.pdf (109 KB)

Activity 2.4.3 Complete NADA's Governance Resource

Please note: this activity is not available in the hard and electronic versions of FundAssist.

governance_toolkit.pdf (2 MB)

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