A good governing board is one that is constantly aware of the political, social and economic environment.

Functioning within an enabling environment

Eugene Saldanha was a journalist, who worked in the non-profit sector holding various senior positions, and serving on a number of non-profit organisation’s boards.  He established and led two organisations: the Non-Profit Partnership and the Charities Aid foundation and wrote on the importance of creating an enabling environment within the NPO sector in South Africa. Saldanha described an enabling environment as an environment – legal, economic and social – in which non-profits are able not only to sustain themselves through having access to diverse sources of funding, but also to deliver their services effectively and be held accountable for the use of resources.  It is thus an environment that is accommodating of the various activities that can occur within the sector and is also is framed within a legal structure that can enable it. Financial sustainability is also an important aspect of creating an enabling environment. How enabling an environment is, and the ability to ensure an NPO’s functionality, depends on the extent to which external factors assist or hinder civil society in promoting their interests. The following diagram shows the necessary relationship between the legal, economic and social context in allowing for NPOs to create and/or identify an enabling environment.

Diagram showing components of an enabling environment


vignettes on governance