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The Book of the Board

Effective governance for non-profit organisations
3rd edition




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AUD $59.95 gst included

The Book of the Board has become Australia’s standard reference book for board and committee members of non-profit organisations. It provides clear guidance on the role of the board, formal and legal responsibilities, and the ways in which the board can maximise its effectiveness for the organisation.

Much is changing in the non-profit world, and this third edition of the Book has been designed with that in mind. New material has been added on the competitive environment, on strategic planning, on risk management and on fundraising. Significant contributions have been added from several specialists. Particular revisions and amendments include:

  • In-depth interviews with four of Australia’s most experienced board members – David Gonski, Rupert Myer, Heather Watson and Simon McKeon
  • Expert contributions and opinion pieces on topics such as fundraising; improving board effectiveness; technology and governance; and impact investing from, amongst others, Frankie Airey, Dr Pieter-Jan Bezemer, Cathy Hunt, Elizabeth Jameson, Myles McGregor-Lowndes and Gavin Nicholson
  • Newly edited charts and diagrams throughout, providing easy reference on key topics
  • New checklists and resources.

About the Author

The Job of the Board
Strategic Direction
                 An Interview with Rupert Myer AM
                 Elizabeth Jameson, adapted by David Fishel
Risk and Reward
                An Interview with Heather Watson
Board Information and Decision-making
CEO and the Board
                An Interview with David Gonski AC
                ‘Look Upstream for Fundraising Growth’ by Frankie Airey, Philanthropy Squared
Monitoring Performance
                An Interview with Simon McKeon AO
Building the Team
Is the Current Board Model Sustainable?
Thought Pieces/Leader Articles:
                Gavin Nicholson and Pieter-Jan Bezemer: Why Have a Governing Body?
                Leigh Tabrett: When Government is the Main Stakeholder
                Elizabeth Jameson: Reinventing NFP Governance for the ‘Big Data’ World
                Cathy Hunt: The Growth of Impact Investing and its Implications for the Board
                Myles McGregor-Lowndes: The ACNC’s New Governance Rules


Reviews of previous editions:

… energetic and dynamic, demonstrating an enthusiasm for the subject that will be encouraging for both prospective board members and those who are unfamiliar with the sector. … an indispensable resource for anyone who wishes to more fully understand the intricacies of the governance of non-profit organisations.

Julia Duffy, Better Boards

…this book is a refreshing text on the issue of governance in the not-for-profit sector. With a strong emphasis on the social context of the task and a lot of sensible advice regarding process to boards, CEOs, and even exectuive staff, not-for-profit organisations are effectively located in their true context.

Arena Magazine, Number 99, February-March, 2009

This book is a must-have for members of non-profit boards who want to develop a better understanding of what being on a board is all about and how to improve their board’s performance….If you are serious about building your board’s capability, read and use this book.

Law Institute Journal of Victoria, March 2009

A practical and common sense guide to day-to-day administration. It is comprehensive … Most useful is the final section which is simply titled ‘Resources’. It is best described as comprising ready reference tools which encapsulate the essence of points being made throughout the book, such as a meeting procedure, a discipline policy, draft position descriptions, recruitment checklist and a risk assessment overview. … [It] contains many time-saving templates and checklists that will be constantly used.

Australian Law Librarian

You generally won’t find books on governance jostling for space among the best sellers with the latest Bryce Courtenay or coffee table cookbooks but here’s one that should. … There are so many positive features of Fishel’s book that it is hard to know where to start. … Within its less than 300 pages, the book manages to encompass all of the major concerns of not-for-profit boards. The language is clear and lively and even complex issues are laid out with simplicity. The interviews and case studies are relevant and illustrative.


Fishel’s book should be standard issue for all Boards in the not-for-profit sector and the set text for any new recruits being inducted into membership.

Educare News

From the outset, Fishel presents considered and well-balanced strategies for implementing systems of good management that enable executives and board members to operate in confidence.

Lawyers Weekly

This book was an interesting and easy read that I expect to return to when I think about my contribution on boards. Legal practitioners who are called to serve on or advise boards will find useful current content.

Ethos, Law Society of ACT, December 2008