Board members – do you know your organisation, do you know your Board?


Gabrielle Ritchie, Director: The Change Room

30th June 2016

This one is for board members.  It is easy to say “Yes, thanks, I accept nomination to your Board”, but board positions come with a lot of responsibility that many of us may not know about.  Here is a quick quiz for you and your fellow board members – you should at least know the answers to these questions below.  In fact, all organisational staff and board members should know the answers – and there are many more that could be added.

Use these questions to hold a quick quiz with your board and with the organisational staff team:

  1. what type of entity is your organisation?
  2. what type of document of formation/ founding document does the organisation have? (what is it called)
  3. what is the legal governing authority or registration body for your organisation?
  4. what other state institutions/ government departments is your organisation accountable to?
  5. what other registration documents does your organisation have or need to get?
  6. when was the organisation founded?
  7. who is the Chair of your board?
  8. how many board directors/ members/ trustees do you have?
  9. who are they, and what particular skills do they bring to the board?
  10. what official registration of directors/ trustees is required, if any?
  11. how long is a board member’s term of office in your organisation?  What are the rules on this in terms of the kind of entity?
  12.  who was your most recent funder?
  13. who are your organisational accountants/ auditors?
  14. what is your key responsibility as board member?
  15.  when last did the board sign off on a set of audited annual financials?
  16. how many paid employees does your organisation have?
  17. what is the name of your organisation’s flagship project or core programme?

For information on core governance practice, values and ethics go to for South Africa’s Independent Code of Governance for Nonprofit organisations.  For additional tips and information on governance more generally, go to for great resources.

For past blog pieces on governance and whether your board is fit for philanthropy, go to


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