Geared for success

Regardless of size, income, area of activity or background, there are some key characteristics that effective registered charities demonstrate:

Clear purpose and direction

Effective registered charities are clear about the characteristics and needs of their beneficiaries, their charitable purpose(s) and their vision. They use this knowledge to guide decision making and activity.  All such information should be included in a charity’s formal rules document. 

The right people for its activities

An effective charity ensures that its people have the right qualities and competence to manage and support the delivery of its services.

Strong governance

The governing group is responsible for ensuring that the charity carries out its work to achieve its charitable purposes. A good governing group will provide leadership, strategy and active direction for the charity. An effective governance group:

  • Keeps Charities Services up to date with any changes to the charity’s rules, purposes, officers, balance date, address and phone details
  • Provides an annual return (every year) and either a performance report or financial statements(external link) to Charities Services
  • Has a good understanding of the charity’s rules document and legal structure
  • Has oversight and responsibility for the financial management and accountability of the charity
  • Prepares for, and attends, regular (usually monthly) meetings and the Annual General Meeting
  • Sets and monitors the mission, purpose, direction and strategy of the charity
  • Involves key stakeholders in setting and monitoring the charity's mission
  • Sets key outcomes for the charity to achieve
  • Ensures there are adequate resources, people and money to achieve the key outcomes
  • Sets policies about how things are done in the charity
  • Ensures the governance group complies with all legal requirements(external link) and with the group’s own policies (e.g. conflict of interest policy) and procedures
  • Monitors the charity’s activities, programmes or services
  • Appoints and supports the Chief Executive, evaluating her performance and rewarding or replacing her as necessary
  • Is accountable to the funders, donors, members and other stakeholders
  • Identifies risk to the charity and has risk management policies in place
  • Makes decisions in the best interest of the charity
  • Reports regularly to stakeholders – members, donors, service users, whānau, hapū, iwi and the public
  • Sets standards for the governance group and evaluates its own governance performance
  • Maintains a succession plan
  • Keeps good records. See CommunityNet Aotearoa’s Introduction to record keeping(external link).’
  • Recruits new members to the governing group, ensuring that the group is diverse and skilled enough to meet the needs of the charity and the community.