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Canadian nonprofit governance examined

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Nonprofit boards in Canada are working hard to strengthen their governance practices, but changing regulations and trends make it difficult for many to keep up, a new study says.

The report, a nationwide study of nonprofit board governance practices in Canada, was conducted by Toronto-based Strategic Leverage Partners, in partnership with the Centre for Voluntary Sector Research and Development in Ottawa.

Six in 10 of the organizations surveyed do not have formal risk-management policies, and a slightly higher number have no formal crisis-management plan, the report says.

While almost seven in 10 say their boards assess the skills required to guide and govern their nonprofits, more than half say they do not conduct formal board evaluations.

Almost eight in 10 say they develop measurable objectives and benchmarks to help the board assess progress toward strategic goals, the study says.

And while almost six in 10 say they have good board recruitment processes in place, half have a current vacancy and almost a third say they find it difficult to fill vacancies.

The study, the first of its kind in Canada, also contains a clearinghouse of information on successful board practices, including governance, board structure and board recruiting.

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