Board Governance

People engaged in discussion groups at a workshop

At Pillar Nonprofit Network, we believe nonprofits and charities are only as strong as their board leadership. It is important, now more than ever, that an organization has a solid, healthy and passionate board at its helm. To be successful, nonprofit organizations both big and small need to have good governance: it helps their management teams make good decisions, it protects them from risks, and takes on an operational role during times of change and transformation.

What Does Pillar Offer?

All About Boards Series

Energize your board and take your organization to the next level. This 4-part workshop series runs every fall, and will give you the fundamentals for a high-performing board focused on strategy, innovation, diversity and accountability.

“I now have a better understanding of the questions to ask and the art of asking questions (listening, learning, and probing). I gained knowledge listening to and working with others across a diverse spectrum of nonprofit organizations. No matter how good you think your leadership/governance is, there's always room for improvement.”

Board Retreats

Engage Pillar Nonprofit Network to support the planning and facilitation of your next board retreat. Through a half or full day session, your directors will have the opportunity to reflect and re-energize as they commit to their ongoing work on your board. Delivered by an expert facilitator, our programs combine in-depth learning with high-energy team building activities.

View more information here.

Customized Board Training & Development
with Impact Consulting

Tailored to meet the unique needs of your board, our customized training is designed to address the governance opportunities and challenges confronting your organization.

Building on our experience and expertise in board governance, planning, recruitment, leadership development, diversity and inclusion, Impact Consulting will design a solution specific to your organization’s requirements:

  • Board facilitation
  • Governance best practices
  • Bylaw reviews
  • Governance review and structural analysis
  • Diversity and inclusion workshops
  • Board recruitment and orientation
  • Board strategy, planning and implementation

Using a variety of approaches, tools and resources, our solutions are cost-effective and impactful. Every project is modified to accommodate your budget, time constraints and the preferred learning style of your board, staff and volunteers:

  • Half day, full day and multi-day sessions
  • Board and staff retreats
  • Expert facilitators
  • Individualized coaching
  • Online learning opportunities

Learn more about Impact Consulting here.

"I am much more comfortable in expressing my ideas to the board because of this training. Can't wait for the next round of new board recruitment as I have more knowledge of the expertise we need."

Starting and Running a Nonprofit in Ontario

Two of the questions we are most frequently asked at Pillar are “Should I start a nonprofit?” and “How do I start a nonprofit?” Though you may not need to incorporate a nonprofit to do your impact work – more on this below – here are some resources you may find useful in thinking about starting a nonprofit organization and taking the early steps:
You can choose to incorporate a not-for-profit provincially or federally. For many years, many lawyers recommended federal incorporation because the laws governing non-for-profits in Ontario were in transition. They have now been proclaimed in the Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA), and so this uncertainty need not be a factor in your decision.


If you choose to incorporate through ONCA in Ontario, these resources will be useful


If you choose to incorporate your organization federally, through the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, see 

Nonprofit Law for Unincorporated Groups

Did you know that constitutions are just fancy FAQs? As long as you have a 'decision-making process' of some kind, you may not need to incorporate to do your work. Indeed, unincorporated associations make up a sizeable part of the social impact sector and of our membership.

For this reason, we invited a staff lawyer from the Nonprofit Law Ontario project of Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) to present some general legal information about unincorporated groups; some pros and cons of incorporation; and the first steps to becoming a legal entity – a nonprofit or business. CLEO has generously allowed us to share this recording of Nonprofit Law for Unincorporated Groups. You can find more detailed information and resources on the CLEO site, and the presenter invites your questions at

For more information contact:

Mariam Waliji
Vice-President - Equity, Impact & Governance, Pillar Nonprofit Network
T: 519-433-7876 ext. 239 | E: mwaliji [at] pillarnonprofit [dot] ca

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