The Ties That Bind: Four Case Studies of Issue-Based Networks

This is the fourth article in our series about the role of networks in the non-profit sector. The series is published as a collaboration between The Philanthropist and the Ontario Nonprofit Network. Networks take on many forms and go by different names, such as coalitions or alliances. Canada is full of examples of groups of organizations, individuals, and communities…

How We Account: Governance Legislation In The Nonprofit Sector: What Canadians Can Learn From California’s Nonprofit Integrity Act

Governance is a hot topic in the nonprofit sector, with largely volunteer-based boards of directors struggling to fulfil their governance responsibilities, as well as serve as major fundraising resources. Indeed, board members are often recruited for their fundraising prowess, with little expectation that they will actively monitor the nonprofit organization. The fact that nonprofit organizations…

What’s The Law: Avoiding Mission Drift: A Due Diligence Approach

A charity is a very organic entity. After a charity has been established, it is not uncommon to find that its focus, mission, objectives, and programs have gradually evolved. “Mission drift” often refers to the gradual diversion of a charity’s activities from its stated purposes. It does not refer to a deliberate and strategic change…

Book Review

Five Good Ideas—Practical Strategies For Non-profit Success Edited by Alan Broadbent & Ratna Omidvar Toronto: Coach House Press; 2011 isbn: 978-1-55245-246-2 At first glance of the cover of Five Good Ideas—Practical Strategies for Non- Profit Success, readers may conclude that the focus of the book is limited to five important areas for consideration in the…

Good Forms: The New Shapes Of Not-for-Profit Organizations

Have you ever wanted to change your shape? It sounds appealing in a fantastic, Harry Potteresque kind of way. How about the shape of your organization? Have you ever thought of a wholesale change—of eliminating the committees, of changing the Board? One doubts J. K. Rowling would have fared so well had she pursued this…

How We Account: Executive Pay: Directors Need To Keep Asking (More) Questions

The Special Report: Ornge Air Ambulance and Related Services (Office of the Auditor General of Ontario, 2012) reports that the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) has not been obtaining the information it needs to fulfill its oversight responsibilities over Ornge’s financial undertakings and operations. Ornge, a government agency reporting to the MOHLTC, is…

Accountable Reporting For Nonprofit Organizations

Introduction One only needs to look as far as their local newspaper to observe the increasingly vocal call for the accountability of nonprofit organizations. Whether the issue at hand is administration costs or the need for transparency, stakeholders, including the general public, are taking more interest in organizations that receive “public funds” (whether they be…

Point / Counterpoint: Resolved: The Demands For Accountability By Charities Have Reached Extreme And Unrealistic Levels

Point: Bob Wyatt Just before Christmas, another self-proclaimed watchdog declared that too many charities are spending too much money on administration instead of on their missions. This led to the usual media furor and comments on media websites alleging that all charities are scams, and “I’m not going to give my money to any of them.”…

Letter From The Guest Editor

We have been talking about accountability of charitable and nonprofit organizations for as long as I have been working in this sector, which is going on some 22 years now. The issue has hardly gone away. If anything, it looms larger and presents more urgency, as there seems to be a growing perception among the public,…