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Empowering sport organizations through strong leadership Fall 2012

In this Issue Theme: Governance ✔✔ Canadian Sport Policy 2012 ✔✔ Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act ✔✔ Learning from each other ✔✔ Plus more

Sport Research Intelligence sportive

Contents 3 Welcome

Editor Creative Director Design team Content Director Translation

Debra Gassewitz David Roberts Kim Sparling Nancy Rebel Louis Daignault, Canadian Sport News

Special Thanks

Alan Zimmerman, Sport Canada Judy Rash, Sport Canada Caroline Assalian, COC And all the contributors

Sport Information Resource Centre (SIRC) is Canada’s national sport library, established over 35 years ago.

4 Canadian Sport Policy 2012

Mailing address: SIRC 180 Elgin Street, Suite 1400 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K2P 2K3 Tel: +1 (613) 231-7472 Fax: +1 (613) 231-3739

6 Canada NFP Corporations Act 8 Maximize Your Board 10 Sport Org Focus

Disclaimer: Author’s opinions expressed in the articles are not necessarily those of SIRCuit, its publisher, the Editor, or the Editorial Board. SIRC makes no representations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness or suitability for any purpose of the content.

12 Learning From Each Other

Copyright © 2012 SIRC. All rights reserved. No part of the publication may be reproduced, stored, transmitted, or disseminated, in any form, or by any means, without prior written permission from SIRC, to whom all requests to reproduce copyright material should be directed, in writing.

14 Ask the Experts

Your one stop shop

for sport governance related resources ✔✔ Templates ✔✔ Guidelines ✔✔ Good practices in sport ✔✔ Recommended Readings ✔✔ Webinars ✔✔ Experts Directory ✔✔ and more

Sport Governance Resource Centre The environment in which the sport community operates is continuously changing. In an effort to help sport organizations develop and maintain effective governance practices, SIRC together with Sport Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) are bringing resources and tools that can assist sport organizations with their governance. The Sport Governance Resource Centre is the primary destination when looking for resources on governance. Experts have reviewed the resources available and provided the best of the best: • Video Commentary from experts • User friendly templates • Useful Guidelines • Good Practices in Sport • Recommended Resources

Welcome SIRC is pleased to be working together with Sport Canada, the Canadian Olympic Committee and leading governance experts across Canada to provide a new electronic, multi-media publication that will highlight some of the latest and most useful resources in the area of leadership and governance for sport. Canada has incredible business acumen and knowledge within our own sport system and the Leadership SIRCuit gives us the opportunity to highlight those people and organizations that excel and share their experiences with others. Learning comes in many forms and this e-journal incorporates interviews and podcasts, video webinars, on-line learning quizzes, and articles written specifically for the sport community to enhance the learning experience. We have asked governance consultants, as well as members of the sport community to contribute their knowledge and experiences so that others can incorporate “lessons learned” into their organizational context. Be sure to listen to the insights from Greg Stremlaw, Canadian Curling Association and Sue Hylland, Canada Games Council as they explain what has worked for them in developing cohesive Board strategies. This first issue of the Leadership SIRCuit will focus on maximizing organizational governance, based upon the Governance principals as outlined by Sport Canada. The five principles underpinned by a commitment to high standards of ethical behaviour are: • Commitment to Vision, Mission, Values and Guided by a Strategic Plan • Clarity of Roles and Responsibilities • Effective Financial Control • Focused on Human Resources • Transparent and Accountable for Outcomes and Results Excellence is an outcome of the Canadian Sport Policy 2012 to be celebrated both on and off the field, and we are proud to be working together to advance sport in Canada. Together we learn, together we will achieve and together we will celebrate Best in Class.

Debra Gassewitz President & CEO SIRC

Judy Rash Manager Program Development Sport Canada

Caroline Assalian Chief Sport Officer Canadian Olympic Committee


Canadian Sport Policy 2012 A vision for a dynamic and innovative culture that promotes and celebrates participation and excellence in sport. Implicit in the vision is the notion that Canada is a leading sport nation where all Canadians can pursue sport to the extent of their abilities and interests, including performing at the highest competitive levels; and where sport delivers benefits, for increasing numbers, to individual health and well-being, and contributes to socioeconomic outcomes.

Core principles: Values-based: All sport programs are values-based, designed to increase ethical conduct and reduce unethical behaviour. Inclusive: Sport programs are accessible and equitable and reflect the full breadth of interests, motivations, objectives, abilities, and the diversity of Canadian society. Technically sound: Principles of long-term participant development inform sport programs in all contexts of sport participation, recognizing that different participant pathway models exist across jurisdictions. Collaborative: Sport is built on partnerships with other sectors – most importantly with Education and Recreation – and is fostered through linkages with community organizations, service providers, and the private sector. Intentional: Sport programs are based on clear objectives in order to achieve their desired outcomes. Effective: Monitoring and evaluation of programs and policies support improvement, innovation and accountability. A research agenda supports the identification of conditions under which programs and policies have the strongest potential to deliver on their objectives. Sustainable: Organizational capacity, partnerships, innovative funding, sharing and economizing of resources, exist to achieve system objectives.


Why is it important? CSP 2012 contributes to: • Excellence • Enhanced education and skill development • Improved health and wellness • Increased civic pride, engagement and cohesion • Increased economic development and prosperity

Who’s it for? CSP 2012 is for all governments, institutions and organizations that are committed to realizing the positive impacts of sport on individuals, communities and society. CSP 2012 encourages the development of new partnerships with local and national, domestic and international, sport and non-sport partners as seen in the framework graphic.

What type of sport is impacted? CSP 2012 impacts the practice and provision of sport in all its forms and contexts, including organized and unorganized, in schools, colleges and universities, parks, and public and private sport centers.

For more information and full policy click here

CSP 2012 Policy Framework The Policy’s framework draws on the full spectrum of sport practice in Canada. The graphic below identifies four common contexts of sport participation plus physical literacy, and key sectors involved in and influenced by sport participation.

CSP 2012 Policy Framework The Policy’s framework draws on the full spectrum of sport practice in Canada. The graphic below identifies four common INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE contexts of sport participation plus physical literacy, and key sectors involved in and influenced by sport participation. MEDIA






















The graphic identifies four common contexts of sport participation plus physical

literacy, and key sectors involved in and influenced by sport participation. RECREATION EDUCATION PHYSICAL LITERACY Sport for Development

Sport Development

The graphic identifies four common contexts of sport participation plus physical

literacy, key sectors involved in and and influenced byCanadians sport participation. A desired outcome of the Policyand is that both the number diversity of participating in sport will increase over the timeframe of 2012-2022.


Sport for Development

Sport Development

A desired outcome the Policy is that both Canadians participating in sport will INTRODUCTION TOofSPORT: Canadians havethe thenumber and diversity of PERFORMANCE SPORT: Canadians are Under the following policyofgoals one of the key objectivesHIGH is that key stakeholders have the organizaincrease over the timeframe 2012-2022. fundamental skills, knowledge and attitudes to participate systematically achieving world-class results tional capacity, i.e., governance, human and financial resources, to achieve system objectives. at the in organized and unorganized sport. highest levels of international competition through Goals: fair and ethical means. RECREATIONAL Canadians havehave the the opportunity INTRODUCTION SPORT: TO SPORT: Canadians HIGH PERFORMANCE SPORT: Canadians are to participateskills, in sport for fun, health, social interaction SPORT FOR DEVELOPMENT: Sport isresults used as fundamental knowledge and attitudes to participate systematically achieving world-class at athe and relaxation. tool for social economic development, the in organized and unorganized sport. highest levels and of international competition and through promotion of positive fair and ethical means.values at home and abroad. COMPETITIVE SPORT: Canadians have the opportunity RECREATIONAL SPORT: Canadians have the opportunity to systematically improve and measure their performance to participate in sport for fun, health, social interaction SPORT FOR DEVELOPMENT: Sport is used as a against others in competition in a safe and ethical manner. and relaxation. tool for social and economic development, and the COMPETITIVE SPORT: Canadians have the opportunity to systematically improve and measure their performance against others in competition in a safe and ethical manner.

promotion of positive values at home and abroad. Quebec recognizes the positive impact of sport on economic and social development; however it cannot subscribe to this goal as part of a Canadian sport policy.

Quebec recognizes the positive impact of sport on economic and social development; however it cannot subscribe to this goal as part of a Canadian sport policy.


NFP Corporations Act There are less than two years left for compliance with the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act! NSOs and MSOs in Canada have less than two years to make a successful transition from the Canada Corporations Act to the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act. So what is the best plan for becoming compliant? There is no easy answer to this beyond a strong suggestion that organizations should start thinking about it now. We all know that the most significant governance changes made necessary by the new Act relate to classes of membership and the structure of the board of directors. There are also many other changes, less substantive in nature, that will be required to comply. For more information visit the dedicated page on the web site of the Sport Law & Strategy Group ( federal-act/). As you can see, there are lots of things to consider when making your plan. We suggest you start developing your timeline now, by working backwards from October 2014, figuring out key points for decisions, and including phases to consult members about ideal member classes, voting rights, and board representation. We also suggest you leave a little ‘cushion’ of time, in the event a vote doesn’t go as planned. You would not want to be putting all this to a member vote at the last minute.

Rachel Corbett, Sport Law & Strategy Group, presents this webinar on the new Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act and its implications for national sport bodies, and will share what they are learning from their work so far with other sports. After this webinar, you will have a clearer idea of what you need to change, and can make a plan for moving towards compliance (and better governance) successfully.

Here are some thoughts about timing ✔✔ Examine how many AGMs you have between now and October 17, 2014? For most organizations it will be two. Some organizations are set up to have two member meetings a year (Lacrosse and Athletics come to mind quickly as being in this category), which in effect doubles their opportunities to have members vote on the required changes. Start to build your plan around these member meetings, because your members have to vote on the governance changes you are making. ✔✔ Do you have multiple classes of members and many nonvoting members? If so, it is recommended that your first step of transition is to streamline member classes down to just one or a few categories of voting members, and to eliminate non-voting classes of members. To keep tabs on all those athletes, coaches, officials and administrators in your sport, who may currently be in a class of non-voting member called “Associate”, you should redefine them to be “registered participants” but not members. These changes to member classes in your bylaws should be done under the Canada Corporations Act, and likely you should be looking to make them at the earliest opportunity, or your next AGM. ✔✔ Do you have a representative, constituency-based board structure made up of many ex-officio directors and appointed directors? If so, this will have to change. The change can be done all at one time, or can be phased in over a year or more. The choice is yours, but whatever the choice, these changes can only be made through member approval of bylaw changes. So you have to plan these changes around member meetings.

Click to view the presentation


✔✔ Is it possible for your organization to call a special meeting of members at any time? Do your current bylaws allow

you to make bylaw changes at a special meeting? Can this meeting be done by telephone? If your current voting members are relatively few in number, and your bylaws are flexible in allowing you to make changes at any duly-called meeting of members, then a special meeting via telephone is easy and inexpensive to do. Your ability to do this will help immensely in your transition efforts and timeline, as it means you are not bound to a single AGM each year. ✔✔ Do you have members who are highly engaged in governance? Or are they more hands-off? Do you have provincial/territorial associations who are mistrustful of each other and of your national office? Do you have other stakeholders who need to be consulted? The extent of member consultation required varies from organization to organization. Some NSOs have been consulting their members for 18 months already, while others have not yet started. ✔✔ Are your objects of incorporation up to date? Objects are set out in your Letters Patent (or Supplementary Letters Patent, if they have been changed from their original at some point). These will need to be reviewed, especially as there have been changes to the Income Tax Act that affect those NSOs who have charitable status. Ultimately, Canada Revenue Agency will have to improve your purposes and other matters set out in your transition documents. ✔✔ Full transition will require submission of two documents Articles of Continuance/Transition and Bylaws (Bylaws can be submitted up to six months after the Articles but for the purposes of governing your organization it is suggested that they be approved and submitted at the same time). You will possibly need some expert guidance to prepare these documents correctly.

Useful Links and Resources New Legislation Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act The Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act provides federal not-for-profit corporations with a new set of rules that are modern, flexible and better suited to the needs of today’s not-for-profit sector. Transition Guide An outline of the step-by-step process through which a corporation can transition to compliance with the new Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (NFP Act). Sport Law & Strategy Group NFP Act Resource Page (Federal, Ontario & BC)

Each Act is different and requires different approaches for compliance. Organizations are encouraged to explore these pages to learn more about organizations’ legal responsibilities, membership engagement, and good governance.

✔✔ Does your organization want to use this opportunity to make other changes? As we like to say, ‘while the patient is on the table’ it might be an opportune time to diagnose other ailments. Are there new governance practices you could adopt? Should you examine your committees and their mandates? Should you redefine your officers? Should your Executive Director’s mandate and authority be reviewed? Do you want to change your legal name?


Maximize Your Board “Good governance is … about achieving desired results in a manner consistent with organizational values and accepted social norms. This is particularly true in the world of sport where our product is people - in particular, our athletes. Sport governance must meld the passion and dedication of volunteers into a focused governance team, operating with integrity and striving to enhance the experiences of the participants, and the performance and reputation of the sport.”

Sport Canada Principles of Good Governance

Effective Boards are those that show a commitment to governance excellence. In sport, dedication and loyalty has long been a hallmark of the community which comes through loud and clear in the statistics for volunteering. “In 2010, 12 % of people aged 15 and over did volunteer work for sports and recreation” (Statistics Canada, 2010). With numbers like these, it is important for us to support our volunteers and provide them with the best resources to keep them up to date and knowledgeable about the environment they are contributing to. Strengthening the individual Board member’s input leads to overall Board effectiveness. The following tools and resources are culled from those contributed to SIRC’s Governance portal by leading governance experts across Canada.



These guidelines discuss general terms of reference guidelines for incorporated not-for-profit (NFP) corporations such as NSOs and MSOs in Canada.

This template was used at a leadership meeting of National Sport Organization Senior Leaders and Board Presidents as an internal evaluation tool for examining their governance processes.

Strategic Planning Guide

Risk Assessment Worksheet

Roles, Responsibilities and Operation Principles: Board of Directors, Executive Board and their Members

Sport organizations interested in undergoing a strategic planning process will benefit from assessing their organization’s state of readiness, what their needs are, what they are currently doing related to strategic planning and what their vision is for the process.

A Guide to Successful Board Recruitment

Finding new Board members can be a challenge; this document provides some ideas to assist the Board in being more successful with Board recruitment.


NSO Governance Assessment Worksheet

A great checklist tool for sport organizations to evaluate which governance and administrational policies, procedures and plans are in place and being used effectively.

Sample Board Charter

Have a Board charter that specifies these relationships. The best Board charters include sections such as Purpose of Charter, Purpose of Board, Roles and Responsibilities of Directors, Membership and term of Board, Relationship of Board and CEO, Board culture and Reporting Requirements. Ensure that all Board members and staff have a copy.

Webinars SIRC is pleased to partner with Sport Canada and the COC to bring you a series of webinars that focus on a variety of governance and leadership related topics. Our goal is to enhance professional development opportunities by providing educational sessions on topics of concern to the sport community. Upcoming webinars as well as the taped versions of previous webinars are available on our Sport Governance Webinars page.

Upcoming Schedule ✔✔ ✔✔ ✔✔ ✔✔ ✔✔

Canada NFP Act: Phase II Salary Study/Hiring Practices Strategic Plan Development New Age Deliverables Board Recruitment/Succession Planning

Register Here

Online Course Sport Governance 101

Sport organizations are teams that work together to achieve excellence in sport programming and administration. All members of the Board need to be aware of the strategic principles to good governance. Check out the online course and have everyone try the quizzes at the end of each chapter. LEARN the Good Governance Principles READ through the practical course information TEST your knowledge with short quizzes SHARE with the Board and Executive staff

Click to view the presentation

Board Models & Structures

This webinar looks at how boards can approach their roles and responsibilities in four different models of board governance. This presentation highlights: ✔✔ The benefits of a governance model that ‘fits’ your organization. ✔✔ For each model, what is required for it to work well and what to watch out for. ✔✔ Considerations in board composition including size, external directors, competencies and constituencies.

Click on the links below to see previous webinars on: ✔✔ Goverance and Operations ✔✔ Implementing Your Strategic Plan ✔✔ Plus more


Sport Org Focus We have great examples of good governance within the Canadian Sport System. Canada Games Council and Canadian Curling Association are pleased to share their insights and lessons learned. “we clear the grey area between governance and operations with the manual and tools we have developed”

Sue highlights the strength of the Canada Games Council’s Board with their clear focus on strategic thinking backed by their Governance Manual that outlines where roles and responsibilities lie. Click here

Sue Hylland, President and CEO of the Canada Games Council, talks to Debra Gassewitz, SIRC, about governance structure, the importance of Board orientation, and the CGC’s Governance Manual.

Sue Hylland President & CEO Canada Games Council

“we make a very intentional approach to orientation”

Sue talks about Canada Games Council Board recruiting as a transitional process that looks at what skills are needed to meet the upcoming Canada Games.

Click here

“Our Governance Manual is a guiding piece” In this section Sue describes the contents of the Canada Games Council Governance Manual, recommendations for creating a Governance Manual and the Executive Director/CEO’s role relative to Board orientation. Click here

“100%...we [welcome] sharing it with others”

Sue stresses the importance of the governance manual and to keep it updated. They are more than happy to share it so others can benefit from the work they have done.

For Canada Games Council’s Governance resources, click here

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Test your knowledge on Board Orientation

“a joint effort that was good for Curling”

Greg Stremlaw, CEO of the Canadian Curling Association discusses with Nancy Rebel, SIRC, CCA’s policy governance structure and their ongoing focus on education and evaluation to enable their organization to operate effectively and strategically. Greg Stremlaw Chief Executive Officer Canadian Curling Association

Greg talks about how the CCA put a lot of ‘sweat equity’ into reviewing their governance and organizational structures. Adopting a policy governance model was good for the national governing body and good for its Click here members.

“enable the organization to be more productive and to identify gaps”

Greg discusses how the CCA recognizes the importance making their governance evaluation an ongoing process with an emphasis on educating their Board and Executive staff. Click here

“constant education needs to be at the forefront” Greg reveals their two main challenges in adopting the policy governance model, and how focusing on strategic thinking and ongoing education helped the CCA meet those challenges.

Click here

“we believe that educational resources are tools” The CCA made a conscious decision to create their policy governance website to provide their members and others with educational resources to assist stakeholder understanding and DIY tools.

Click here

For Canadian Curling Association’s Governance resources, click here

What type of Governance model do you have?

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Learning From Each Other A key premise is that in order to build effective sport experiences, the governance of the entire sport system must also be at its peak. The focus in this section is on sharing our experiences within the sport community so that we can continue to learn from each other. This forum provides members of the sport community with the opportunity to contribute governance-related learnings from their organizations so that others can benefit from similar experiences.

Can you think of a particular governance-related issue that Gymnastics has had and share how it was successfully resolved?

The GCG Governance model has been in place since 1994. In 2009, following a few governance challenges, the GCG Board decided to undertake a comprehensive Governance review in order assess the application and efficiency of the model. Through this process a complete review of the GCG policies was completed, the Board election process & structure was adjusted , lines of communication were clarified and a new standing committee of the Board was structured – By Law & Policy Review Committee. We are now better positioned and structured to address and resolve governance related-issues. Jean-Paul Caron President/CEO Gymnastics Canada

Has Synchro Canada had any particular challenges in the process of incorporating the new Canada Not-forProfit Corporations Act (NFP Act) and if yes, how are you working towards its resolution or how was it resolved? We thought we would have a lot more challenges than what we are encountering right now. I think it is partly due to the fact that we have tried as an organization to stay up to speed with policy governance trends and make sure we talk about it with the members regularly and adapt our bylaws accordingly as it evolved in the past few years. A number of changes in our organization that have been made in the past 5 to 8 years have helped us specifically from a governance standpoint, but now are going to make the NFP Act transition easier. So that has been super positive for us. Currently, our main issue is finding a way of restructuring our Athletes Council so that we can still keep the athletes’ voice at the Board of Directors level. We are assessing this matter with legal support right now to ensure a smooth transition and compliance. Catherine Gosselin-Despres, MA Chief Executive Officer Synchro Canada


Has the Canadian Academy of Sport & Exercise Medicine had any particular governance challenges and how was it resolved? You would think changing our name from CASM to CASEM would be easy – one little “E” – that was the challenge that faced the Board of Directors when they agreed to incorporate the word “Exercise” into our organization title to more accurately reflect the practice profile of an average sport medicine physician. The entire membership was consulted, through an on-line survey, to solicit their informal opinion and redesign the logo – with this informal support, a motion was taken to the AGM for formal approval by the members at large – follow that with an application to Industry Canada, as a federally-incorporated not-for-profit to change the name, the “E” was added in both English and French. Nearly 2 years later CASM’s name was officially changed and CASEM was born. Re-branding of an organization is not easy – what the CASEM Board did very well was consult the members all the way through the process – that way buy-in was easy and early adoption possible. This was key in a successful implementation and rebranding process. Dawn Haworth Executive Director Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine

What is the structure of your Board and do you have plans to restructure? Wheelchair Basketball Canada’s volunteer board of directors is presently comprised of seven positions. It is an elected board, with two year terms that are staggered by electing half of the directors at each annual general meeting. Each director’s position on the board has a portfolio that aligns with the key business areas of operations of the organization. The Board is a very active group tasked with chairing the various committees in each of their portfolios. While this type of structure has served Wheelchair Basketball Canada very well in the past, the organization has determined that a review of the current governance structure is important to our membership and consistent with our vision of being the world leader in wheelchair basketball. A review and evaluation of the current governance structure will allow for compliance with the new Not-for-Profit Corporations Act and ensure effectiveness, in addition to preparing the organization to respond to an ever-changing sport environment and build a solid foundation for the continued growth and development of our sport. Wendy Gittens Executive Director Wheelchair Basketball Canada


Ask the Experts How does a Board best deal with Conflict of Interest concerns? The simple answer (and there is never an actual “simple answer”) is that a Board best deals with concerns over conflicts by having a specific Conflict of Interest Policy and by adhering strictly to it. The need for this is highlighted in the November 2011 Sport Canada publication titled “Pursuing Effective Governance in Canada’s National Sport Community” where at page 11 the following is set out:

This suggests that not only is it important to have a policy but there needs to be annual “declarations of Interest” and declarations for each Board meeting. I recommend that each Board member, at the time of the first Director’s meeting after each Annual General Meeting, sign a conflict declaration wherein they set out any matters that they are aware of at the time that might give rise to the perception of a conflict.

Establish a Conflict of Interest Policy A conflict of interest policy should be in place and declarations of interest updated at least once a year and declared in relation to agenda items at each Board meeting. This is a simple tool but essential in this era of perceived conflicts of interest.

Next is to have as a standing agenda item (probably right after “Approval of Agenda”) a heading for “Declarations of Conflict”. This provides an opportunity for a Board member to say in advance of a specific topic being discussed that he or she has a conflict with that item. It would then be appropriate to allow that member to absent themselves from any discussion of that specific topic. The broader issues of conflict of interest is addressed by having a specific policy that spells out what sorts of things are (and perhaps are not) conflicts and under what circumstances (if any) a conflict may be “acceptable”. So the “answer” to this question is to have and clear policy that is looked at regularly and to couple that policy with active steps by the Board at each meeting to deal with potential conflicts as they relate to the ongoing business of the organization up front and in public. Read more ... Peter Lawless President, Coaches of Canada


The best thing is to be aware. Conflict of interest is a serious problem in the governance of sport organizations, because the sport community is relatively small. Sport people are also ‘do-ers’, passionate people who like to be involved and it is not uncommon for a typical sport volunteer to be involved in many different organizations at the same time. This is what creates the problem. When a person is a director on a board, he or she has an important legal duty to put the interests of that organization first, ahead of any other interests. Often, people who are board of directors of more than one organization, may find that their loyalties are divided. For example, a president of a swim club who is also on the board of a provincial body while also being the chair of a national committee, may find that they cannot fufill their duty of loyalty all the time. To address this issue, sport organizations need to understand and be aware of the potential for conflict, they need to have a clear policy that governs situations of conflict of interest (and a willingness to enforce such a policy), and they need to be open and transparent in how they report and manage the conflict. Some organizations avoid the problem entirely by requiring, as a matter of policy or bylaws, that directors cannot have competing interests in other organizations.

Rachel Corbett Sport Law & Strategy Group

Recommended Resources Board Recruitment

How do we attract new volunteer leaders to our Board? Many sport organizations struggle with maintaining an active, engaged, and effective Board of Directors. Too often, when organizations recruit board members, they merely look for “warm bodies” to fill the vacancy. Sometimes this works out, but oftentimes it doesn’t.

The best way to attract new volunteers is through your current volunteers. Provide volunteers the flexibility to involve colleagues and friends in their work. Individuals who they feel their volunteer contribution is valued and appreciated will frequently encourage others to become involved.

Board recruitment is similar to staff recruitment. Board members need to have the knowledge, connections, and willingness to address the issues you are facing as an organization. Start first by identifying the skills, knowledge, traits and experience that you need to address your Board’s current and upcoming challenges. Write up a job description that describes the role you expect the new Board member to play. Be realistic about the time commitment.

Many recently retired professionals are looking for ways to use their skills and unemployed individuals are looking for ways to enhance their skills and resumes. These individuals may be registered with volunteer bureaus that can be found in many communities.

Work with your existing Board and senior staff to brainstorm a list of people who meet your profile. Don’t forget to consider diversity, regional representation and linguistic balance. Consider representatives from corporate Canada as well, especially if you have a policy Board. Don’t rule out anyone because you think they might be too busy or uninterested, or don’t know anything about your sport. Read more ...

Students provide another source of volunteers. Speak with high school teachers in schools where a minimum number of volunteer hours are required to complete course credits and college and university professors re potential tasks that might be assigned to students as projects or research. Other non-traditional places to look for volunteers are in your sports fan base; and local corporations - it is often easier to contribute human resources than financial resources.

Guidelines: • A Guide to Successful Board Recruitment Readings: • 20 Questions Directors of Notfor-Profit Organizations Should Ask about Board Recruitment, Development and Assessment

Conflict of Interest Templates: • Sample Conflict of Interest Checklist • Sample Conflict of Interest Policy Guidelines: • Conflict of Interest Readings: • Can conflict of interest be an obstacle to board service? • Conflict of Interest - The Sport Organization’s ‘Achilles Heel’

Joan Duncan JDI Consulting

Judy Sutcliffe The Sutcliffe Group Incorporated


For more information and resources

Leadership SIRCuit  

The new multi-media publication "Leadership SIRCuit" designed with sport leaders in mind.

Leadership SIRCuit  

The new multi-media publication "Leadership SIRCuit" designed with sport leaders in mind.