This year’s study explored current and emerging issues facing the sector including cybersecurity, innovation, financial viability and culture.

The Study canvases a range of perspectives taken by boards in response to contemporary challenges which directors from any sector cannot afford to ignore, including innovation, cybersecurity and culture.

These are governance issues which push boards to focus their energies beyond traditional metrics for performance. Perhaps they were not commonplace on board agendas five or 10 years ago, but in 2018 they are crucial governance considerations for the sector.

The Study is the largest, most comprehensive study of NFP governance in the world and each year it has reported on the steady improvement of governance in the sector.

However, in the context of declining trust levels from the broader community and a fraught regulatory environment, NFP governance is at a critical juncture.

NFP boards must endeavour to overcome the complexity of modern governance challenges so that they can achieve their vision for the social good, the report said.

Key findings of the 2018 NFP Governance and Performance Study included:

  • 82% of respondents undertake their NFP governance role for no financial reward.
  • 58% said they were working more than 2 days a month on their NFP, compared to 41% in 2013.
  • Half of respondents believe innovation is the responsibility of management and half view it as a board role.
  • 75% of respondents are actively engaged in monitoring, measuring and leading culture this year – a significant increase on 2017.
  • Boards are using a combination of methods to measure culture, with staff survey results, staff turnover and dismissals, client survey results, OH&S reports and client complaints all rating as common methods.
  • 25% of respondents believe their boards need to perform better.
  • 38% reported their board had a ‘very good’ understanding of the impact of a cyberattack on service users and 25% of the probability of a cyberattack on their organisation.

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