Gilchrist, D. (2010). Agents, Stewards and Leaders: The Place of Mission in Not-for-profit Corporate Governance. WACOSS 2010 Biennial Conference: Gearing for Change.
Commercial models have been applied to most aspects of Not-for-profit management and operation. There are very good reasons why this might be advantageous to the Not-for-profit sector generally and to funders and boards of management particularly. Such reasons include the fact that the commercial sector has developed far more mature governance models than the Not-for-profit sector, that advisors to the sector are far more adept at providing solutions based around these commercial models and that boards of management are more likely to be able to quantify their achievements using such measures. However, the use of such models can cause a divergence to develop between the purpose or mission of individual organisations and the methods used to assess the extent to which these organisations have been successful in their operations. Mission centricity is acknowledged by most organisations as being the driving force behind activities and efforts undertaken during a reporting period. Annual reports, web sites and other marketing collateral routinely refer to the mission of the organisation and seek to reinforce to wide readerships that the organisation exists primarily for a social purpose. However, boards of management do not always make decisions or develop plans based on a mission centric perspective. This paper will introduce mission centricity and discuss models and experiences that will serve as tools for boards of management and executives in their work. Placing commercial governance models in the context of mission, the paper will discuss ways in which traditional models of corporate governance can be enhanced by mission centric methodologies and how boards of management, executives and advisors can reshape their thinking in this critical area of management to the benefit of the community at large.
Not-for-profit, Governance, Accountability