Principles for good governance for non-profits

3 min read
Nov 30, 2022 5:23:37 PM

Today, BoardPro is proud to introduce Jo Cribb, a diversity and inclusion consultant with extensive Boardroom experience.

Cribb is future-focused, with a strong emphasis in her work on gender diversity, good governance and strengthening the NGO sector. She has over 10 years in Board and leadership roles, including two decades of experience as an NGO director, and is passionate about increasing inclusivity in the workplace.

jo cribbAlong with her diversity and inclusion consultant work, Cribb is the co-founder of Community Governance NZ, where she focuses on the community NFP sector and has led, facilitated, and co-designed the National Strategy for Community Governance. She is also a senior associate with the Centre for Social Impact New Zealand, where she leads the National Strategy for NGO and Community Governance. She also works as a faculty member at the Australia and New Zealand School of Government, and she serves on Boards for both CORE Education and the Royal New Zealand Navy. In addition to this wide array of organisational involvement, Cribb is also a council member with the New Zealand Media Council, helping to resolve media-related complaints and promote freedom of the press.

With an extensive background mirroring her current work, Cribb remains focused on expanding gender inclusion by identifying barriers both in policy and in workplace culture and working with companies to systematically dismantle said barriers. She also offers coaching to help support leaders in their diversity initiatives.

BoardPro was excited to sit down with Cribb and discuss what good governance for non-profits looks like. Demonstrably committed to helping improve governance, particularly in areas of gender inequality, as seen in her co-founding of Mind The Gap, Cribb’s Ted talk and #justask campaign – all working on closing the gender pay gap – as well as her co-authored book Take Your Space: Successful Women Share their Secrets.

Recently, Community Governance NZ released its Good Governance Code. The Code discusses the impact of good governance in Aotearoa, New Zealand, in six succinct principles to help guide the community. These include impactful, purposeful leadership; connected leadership; diverse and inclusive leadership; integrity and accountability; transparent and open leadership; and effective governance processes.

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The code was co-designed through collaboration between Cribb, Rose Hiha-Agnew (programme director of Community Governance NZ) and the greater community, building off of a series of workshops. Community Governance NZ aims to pay particular attention to guiding indigenous practices and te ao Māori, to help support organisations across Aotearoa in implementing good governance principles.

Q: How do you define good governance, specifically for NFP?
A: The simple answer is that good governance adds value to the organisation in its mission - good governance provides clear leadership on strategy, priorities, values and ensures the entity is operating ethically and legally. The Code of Good Governance identifies six principles that outline this in more detail.

Q: How do you hope the newly-debuted code will influence good governance in the sector?
Thousands of boards across New Zealand spend time individually trying to work out what good governance is. The Code brings together the wisdom of hundreds of community sector leaders who have much experience of good governance and captures what good looks like in a practical way. The Code provides practical actions that Boards can take to develop their governance. It provides a benchmark that Boards can use to consider their own practices, including a self assessment tool. The aim of the Code is to make what is an often complex, unsupported, under-valued leadership role less complex. It aims to support the half a million New Zealanders who volunteer on Boards in the community and make their leadership easier.

Q: Can you please expand on the importance of forefronting indigenous knowledge in the sector?
The development of the Code was grounded in the principles of good leadership in te ao Maori, drawing on centuries of knowledge. Good governance in Aotearoa should draw on these principles and use them to guide behaviour and decisions.

To read more about the code, including self-evaluation tools and tips on applying the code, visit 

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