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Improving the quality of board packs for better decision making in Irish Nonprofits

In order for a board of directors to carry out their fiduciary duties for the organisation that they oversee, they need to be provided with a “board pack” for their board meetings which contains relevant, timely, up-to-date information in a digestible format. Expectations and accountability of boards have increased in recent years including those in the nonprofit sector. Hence, boards need to review the board reporting material they receive in their board packs to ensure that they receive the information that they require to make informed decisions.

Following their recent cross-sectorial research, new guidance for effective board reporting has been issued this year by ICSA: The Governance Institute (ICSA). Furthermore, the importance of identifying and reporting performance metrics has been recognised as a key area to be improved in board reporting and hence this is discussed below. Concentrating on the governance of nonprofit organisations in particular, we aim to benchmark the best-practice initiatives in; charity finances, regulatory requirements and performance reporting with reference to international guidance for nonprofit organisations.

Qualitative and quantitative research of Irish nonprofit organisation representatives was conducted wherein current strengths and weaknesses of board reporting were identified and investigated. The key findings from this survey, alongside the accompanying research, have been collated to create recommendations for an effective board pack compilation. Within these recommendations, there is a board pack table of contents, a board pack contents template and a practical checklist to help improve their board reporting process.

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