Governance for Social Impact

UNSW Business School

How long?

  • 2 days
  • in person

UNSW Business School


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About the course

Examine the social impact ecosystem and how to exercise and lead effective Board governance for NFP organisations.

Developed by the Centre for Social Impact, this course will enable you to gain an understanding of how to lead for social impact, including the practical implications for the roles and responsibilities of Board directors across four key areas: social impact and social purpose organisations; strategic impact in the social purpose ecosystem; optimising strategy for social impact; and effective leadership social impact.

What you'll learn

What it means to govern with a ‘mission-first’ agenda, including how to:

  • avoid mission drift
  • operationalise mission through matching intended impact to appropriate approaches and models of funding, scale, collaboration, innovation and risk

How to govern in a complex social ecosystem, including how to:

  • apply systems thinking to strategic decision-making
  • identify the ecosystem’s key actors and levers and diagnose an organisation’s need to work with others
  • collaborate effectively with different sector organisations
  • analyse emerging trends and likely disruptions to the ecosystem;
  • innovate for strategic growth
  • recognise, assess, negotiate and apply appropriate funding levers
  • think systemically about risk, risk appetite and risk mitigation

The role of Boards in optimising an organisation for social impact, including how to:

  • use social impact measurement to know whether an organisation’s strategy has ‘made a difference
  • ensure beneficiaries remain at the heart of strategic decision-making
  • keep an organisation focused on, and accountable for, social impact

How to exercise effective leadership while governing for impact, including how to:

  • exercise adaptive and mindful leadership
  • navigate risks while tackling innovation and scale
  • manage crises and unintended consequences

How you'll learn

The learning materials and activities designed for this course aim to enable participants to discover, critically analyse, and apply in practice the knowledge, frameworks, and tools for effective social impact governance.

The intensive nature of this two-day course requires participants to have read the selected Required Readings in advance of attending each class.


Governing with a mission-first agenda

Look at the social purpose obligations of NFP boards as they relate to the Charities Act 2014, and we ask, what constitutes social impact? What does success look like?

Explore development of a Theory of Change and look at a case study on staying on mission.

The Social Purpose Ecosystem: Systems Thinking

Examine the different actors at play in the system affecting the types of problems you are trying to solve. We also look at how systems behave, and explore feedback loops, agents, and levers in the system.

Funding models and scaling for impact

We will use the ecosystem approach to consider whether and when to innovate, which funding model options apply, and whether and when to scale. We also explore collaborations, and why , when, and how you should collaborate.


Kristy Muir

Disability, Mental health, supported housing, war veterans, families, young people, mentoring and resilience, Children's/Youth Services and Childcare. Professor Kristy Muir is the CEO of the Centre for Social Impact (CSI), a Professor of Social Policy at UNSW Sydney and an elected member of UNSW...

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Governance for Social Impact at UNSW Business School

From  3575 AUD$2,692

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