Reimagining Governance

We need to transform the way governance is fulfilled in nonprofit organizations.

Boards ≠ governance

For the nonprofit sector, the traditional model of a board of directors isn’t keeping pace with the changing nature of the sector. Governance is important for the accountability and responsibilities of an organization, but how else can we be doing this?

We want to change the conversation from ‘how do we make boards more effective’ to ‘how do we fulfill governance more effectively’.

Reimagining Governance is a collaboration designed to advance new approaches to the governance of nonprofit organizations. The aim is to help nonprofit leaders reimagine a more effective way to fulfill organizational governance, including its structures, processes and practices.

Finding and maintaining the right kind of governance leadership is critical to the vibrancy and sustainability of nonprofit organizations, and the communities we serve.

Join us

Be part of generative conversations about organizational governance with a diversity of leaders within the nonprofit sector that spark curiosity, shift thinking, provoke engagement and generate ideas.

Watch our latest explorative webinar that shares research, challenges assumptions, and generates feedback and questions from Ontarians.

Join the coalition of advocates to share your experiences with governance and what inspires you to do it differently. Scroll down and sign up for our Reimagining Governance listserv to receive updates on upcoming opportunities for involvement and input.

Share and help identify new possibilities for fulfilling organizational governance functions by thinking about it in new ways.


For more information about this project and getting involved, please contact Erin Kang, Engagement Strategy Coordinator.

The context for nonprofits is changing, yet the basic form of nonprofit governance remains fundamentally unchanged.

“In recent decades, nonprofit governance has been enhanced by new practices that shift boards of directors away from operations, engage board members more effectively, and better explain their roles and responsibilities. Factors as varied as new technologies, sophisticated financing models, hybrid organizational structures, and shifting demographics have altered the way organizations engage with each other, conduct their work, and accomplish their missions.” Next Generation Governance: Emerging Leaders’ Perspectives on Governance in the Nonprofit Sector

“Nonprofits are experiencing a growing demand for their services from increasingly diverse communities and increasing demands from governments and funders. There is also greater focus on collaboration, mergers, network-based models of organizing, cross-sectoral partnerships and common approaches to measuring impact in the sector.” Peering into the Future: Reimagining Governance in the Non-Profit Sector, Mowat NFP

“This challenge is complicated by the significant leadership transition that will occur over the next five to ten years as the baby boom generation exits governance leadership and the smaller Gen X can’t replace it… This shortfall is amplified in rural communities as young people move away for school and work.” Next Generation Governance: Emerging Leaders’ Perspectives on Governance in the Nonprofit Sector

Governance determines who has a voice in making decisions, how decisions are made and who is ultimately accountable.

“It is a framework of responsibilities, requirements and accountabilities within which organizations operate, including regulatory, audit and reporting requirements, and relationships with key stakeholders.”

C. Cornforth, (2011). Nonprofit Governance Research: Limitations of the Focus on Boards and Suggestions for Further Research” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 41:6: 1116- 1135

We’re grateful for the financial support of Ignite NPS, the City of Toronto, and Toronto Foundation.