This page aims to provide you with diverse online board and governance resources relevant to the Canadian non-profit sector.

Imagine Canada is a major resource for non-profit resources, so you’ll find quite a bit of information from them on this page. This national charitable organization supports charities and non-profits in strengthening the communities they serve. Check out its research and facts on the Canadian non-profit sector, or its board governance tools, some of which we have highlighted individually below.

We also regularly upload free resources from BoardSource. It’s an American organization but many of the topics it addresses are universal in terms of being helpful for non-profits. You’ll see a number of their free resources below, but you can also go straight to the BoardSource online library and search by topic.

The Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada have some exceptional resources for non-profits – we’ve given them their own section below, though you’ll find some of CPAC’s other documents from their “20 Questions” series scattered through other categories here as well.

If you know of a resource that we should add to this page, please email our executive director and we’d be happy to add them.

Tools to assess and improve your board

A Template for a Great Board Orientation – Joan Garry

Are your board committees working well? Revisiting your board structure – BoardSource

Find the right board member for your non-profit organization – National Council of Non-Profits (US)

Board Recruitment – BoardSource

The Board Chair’s Role – BoardSource

Innovation in Board Structure and Dynamics – BoardSource

Board Self-Evaluation Tool and Guidelines for Using Board Self-Evaluation Tool from Dalhousie University

Finding and recruiting the right board members – National Council of Non-Profits

Best board meeting ever – BoardSource

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Mind the Gap: Measures for Accomplishment of Your Mission (BoardSource)

2018 National Study of Board Practices in Canada’s Non-Profit and Voluntary Sectors

On becoming a great board director

How to succeed as a non-profit board director – Conference Board of Canada

Asker, Ambassador, Advocate: Which Kind of Board Member are You? – The Curtis Group

Non-profit board member codes of conduct and ethics – BoardSource

What makes a good board member? – BoardSource

Strategic Planning

Three keys for non-profit strategic planning now – Non-Profit Pro

Five Phases of Strategic Planning – BoardSource

A Beginner’s Guide to Strategic Planning – The Ascent

Charted Professional Accountants of Canada – Resources for Non-Profits

Operating in the Post-Pandemic World: Resources for NFPs

What Not-For-Profits Need to Know About Annual Reporting

20 Questions Directors of Not-For-Profit Organizations Should Ask About A Director’s Duties

Directors and Officers Indemnification and Insurance: 20 Questions for Directors

20 Questions Directors Should Ask About Cyber-Security

20 Questions Directors Should Ask About Risk

Financial statements

Red Flags, Yellow Flags: Are Your Financial Statements Trying to Tell You Something? – BoardSource

Reading Financial Statements: What Do I Need to Know? – Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada

Every board’s must-have documents – BoardSource (** Ignore the one about IRS Form 990 – BoardSource is American and that form does not apply to Canadian charities and non-profits)

Thoughtful and impactful governance

Board responsibilities and structures – BoardSource FAQs

Governing a Collaborative Organization – Stanford Social Innovation Review

The Four Principles of Purpose-Driven Board Leadership – Stanford Social Innovation Review

Governance for Not-for-Profit Organizations: Questions for Directors – Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada

Tools and resources from Centre For First Nations Governance for First Nations organizations transitioning from Indian Act to inherent right governance

Advocacy

Five good ideas to influence public policy

Advocacy and Ambassadorship – tools and resources from BoardSource

Non-Profit Advocacy Survival Guide – Imagine Canada

Recruitment and retention of senior leadership

Six core competencies of non-profit CEOs – BoardSource

Board chair and CEO executive partnership – infographic from BoardSource

20 questions directors of not-for-profits should ask about human resources – Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada

Six tips for successful executive director performance review – Charity Village

20 Questions Directors Should Ask: Recruiting, Developing, Assessing and Renewing Directors – Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada

20 Questions Directors Should Ask About CEO Succession – Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada

Giving and receiving criticism: Five tips for executive directors and board chair

Diversity, equity and inclusion

Five questions to get you started on board diversity – BoardSource

Recruiting for board diversity without disrespecting people of colour – BoardSource

Building the boards we need – Rick Moyers blog post at BoardSource

Challenging assumptions and practices in board diversity – BoardSource

Beyond Political Correctness: Building a Diverse and Inclusive Board – BoardSource

Opinion from Canadian Senator Ratna Omidvar – “Canadian Non-Profits Have a Diversity Problem” (June 2020)

Has your board got cognitive diversity? (aka diversity of thought) – Charity Village

Opinion: Why we need to decolonize boards to ensure equity – Liben Gebremikael on Imagine Canada website (March 2021)

Decolonizing and reconciliation

Decolonize Your Board – Natalie Walrond, Stanford Social Innovation Review 2021

The Challenge of Indigenous Leadership Within Mainstream Organizations – Leslie Varley, Executive Director of BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, 2016

Conflict resolution, risk and crisis management

Managing Conflict: A Guide for Volunteer Boards (Governing Good)

Dealing effectively with non-profit board conflicts (Charity Village)

Moving from dissonance to harmony (BoardSource)

Common non-profit board problems (BoardSource)

Crisis communications – BoardSource

Understanding vicarious liability in Canadian employment law

Templates and tips for hiring

Sample human resources policies (evaluation, social media, code of conduct, much more) – Imagine Canada

Conflict and complaint resolution policy – sample

Six Tips for Writing an Effective Performance Review – Business News Daily

Conflict of interest policy – template

Template – Board Governance Committee terms of reference – (BoardConnect, Australia)

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Board-Chair-President-Sample-Job-Description

Six Competencies that Every CEO Should Have – Board Source

Five Practical Recruitment Strategies – Charity Village

Online tools for engagement

Four steps to kickstart your non-profit engagement strategy – Tom Jager

Eight essential online free tools and resources for non-profits – Donor Box

Seven social media management tools for non-profits – Whole Whale

Dealing with negative social media:

How to Handle Negative Comments

Eight Ways to Deal with Negative Social Media Comments

How to Positively Handle Negative Comments

Compliance

Reviewing your bylaws in accordance with BC Societies Act

Duties and Liabilities of Directors and Officers of Non-Profits in Canada

Imagine Canada Standards Program for Charities and Non-Profits

Succession planning

Governance Q&A on succession planning – Charity Village

Article on leadership succession planning from the magazine Corporate Board Member

Succession planning for non-profits: Managing Leadership Transition – National Council Of Non-Profits

Toward a better board recruitment process – BoardSource

Other resources

Charity Village Learning Centre

Conversations with Tainted Donors: Lessons from the Sackler disaster – BoardSource

Community Foundations, a network of 191 community-based foundations across Canada

Stanford Social Innovation Review – articles for non-profits and NGOs

Resources for non-profit board members – Volunteer Canada