Key Points

  • There are basic duties to perform right from your first meeting and over time you will grow your skills and can take on more responsibility around your Committee or Board table.
  • You’re not expected to know everything first up – so feel free to ask questions and seek more information so that you feel comfortable making decisions in the best interest of your organisation.
  • Serving in governance roles is a lifelong learning journey and you can take the skills you’ve learnt from one organisation to others, becoming a more and more valuable resource for your community as you go. Even the most experienced Board members will tell you they keep learning things every year.

Your learning and experience serving in governance roles is a journey – involving training, mentoring and actively participating to build your skills and knowledge. 

It may appear a little daunting at first, but there’s lots of information available for you to explore once you become familiar with basic concepts. 

Making learning a regular habit and part of your career by serving on Committees and Boards will make your governance journey more rewarding and you’ll feel more comfortable more quickly with the responsibilities that come with governance roles. It is also increasingly expected that governance members will commit to their own professional development.

There are many ways to support your learning:  Undertaking one of the many excellent online learning offerings; seeking out support from a more experienced Committee member; reading up on a topic currently before your Board; or volunteering to take on new tasks and learning your way through them are all great ways to grow your skills.

Top Tip

Ask someone on your Board if they could mentor you for a period of time and be a point of initial contact to help answer questions

Ask your organisation if they would consider being nominated to be mentored as part of the free Centre for Participation Good Governance program

Want more? ... check out these resources

Resource centre – – Piles of factsheets from 3 minute reads upwards.

... has teamed up with the Institute for Community Directors to provide one of the best set of resources available for Committee and Board members in the community sector.

Online learning centre – Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission – Extensive array of online learning modules


Not all community organisations are charities but there’s heaps of great free content in the ACNC’s online learning program to support governance leaders boost their skills and expertise.

Handbook – Justice Connect – Comprehensive 109-page guide


It’s a bit dense, but this 109-page beauty from Justice Connect is the closest thing to a Lonely Planet guide to being a not-for-profit Committee member as you are likely to find.  Keep it handy and you can dip in and out of it as matters arise.

Learning program / community of practice – Centre for Participation – Ongoing learning community of practice


The Centre for Participation’s Good Governance program is specially designed to support new community sector governance members grow their skills and become better leaders in the for-purpose sector.  It offers mentoring, a community of practice and learning programs. 

Online course – Institute of Community Directors – 60 minutes


For $55 you can enrol in this super little 1-hour online course which gives you a great overview of everything you need to know to get started as a Committee of Board member.

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