The Four Principles of Governance: A Guide for Associations

For any association, governance is a crucial aspect that must be implemented effectively. However, the concept of governance can often be confusing and challenging. Many associations need help with its proper implementation as the management committee, or board may be volunteers and lack the knowledge of where to begin. In this blog, we aim to provide you with a clear understanding of the four principles of governance that can guide your association towards effective governance practices.


Accountability is an essential principle of governance that builds confidence among your board members. It requires you to justify every action you take within your association. Proactively owning your decisions means discovering risks and creating solid internal control systems instead of assigning blame or praise afterwards. With accountability, board members can trust that their association makes decisions in everyone’s best interest. A scoped and defined Constitution allows for accountability to be implemented.



Transparency is another critical principle that engenders confidence in the association. It lets others know there is nothing to hide while improving accountability for the association’s actions. Providing clear information to all members and volunteers regarding the association’s performance plays a significant role in any decision-making process. Incorporating systems within the operations of an association provides accurate and reliable information.


Fairness is a vital requirement for good governance. Equal treatment of all volunteers within each shared portfolio is necessary to avoid a lack of support and interest in your association. Unequal treatment can lead to dissatisfaction and a loss of trust. Good governance requires equal treatment of all volunteers.


In total, these principles require that you wield your power responsibly. Transparency, accountability, and fairness make it challenging to display favouritism, take unnecessary risks, or act unethically or against members’ best interests. By implementing these principles, your association can ensure that it is acting responsibly and in the best interests of its members.


In conclusion, these four governance principles provide a foundation for associations to operate effectively. By implementing accountability, transparency, fairness, and responsibility, your association can build trust, improve decision-making, and foster a culture of responsibility. Good governance will lead to a more successful association.