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Basic Resources for Policy Based Governance
Basic Resources for Policy Based Governance
Governance for Congregations

Policy-Based Governance Models


  • Governance and Ministry: Rethinking Board Leadership by Dan Hotchkiss (Alban Institute, 2009)
    Offers congregational leaders a roadmap and tools for changing the way boards and clergy work together to lead congregations. Demonstrates that the right governance model is the one that best enables a congregation to fulfill its mission-to achieve both the outward results and the inward quality of life to which it is called. 

    (For an overview of how Hotchkiss's model differs from the Carver model [below] see his article How I am Different from John Carver.)

On-Demand Webinars

  • Lighting the Leadership Chalice
    • Part 1: Overview of Governance Grounded in Mission and Vision
      An introduction to the fundamentals of governance: How can you best liberate your congregation's creative energy to transform souls and bless the world? 
    • Part 2: Policy-Based Governance
      An introduction to the the concepts of policy-based governance as practiced at Unity Church in St. Paul, MN, with tips and tools for implementation in your own congregation


  • Unity Consulting
    Helps UU congregations answer powerful questions about values and mission and choose a governance structure to help them realize their mission in the world. 
  • International Policy Governance Association a non-profit community of practitioners, researchers and consultants interested in Policy Governance and other advanced governance systems.

Carver Model of Policy Governance


  • Boards That Make a Difference: A New Design for Leadership in Nonprofit and Public Organizations by John Carver (Jossey-Bass, 1990, 2nd edition, 1997)
    The “flagship” resource on Policy Governance as it relates to nonprofit and governmental boards, and the most inclusive text on the model.
  • Reinventing Your Board: A Step-by-Step Guide to Implementing Policy Governance co-authored by John Carver and Miriam Mayhew Carver (Jossey-Bass, 1997)
    A “hands-on” guide in implementing the model, with a full set of sample policies and how to adapt and adopt them.
  • The Policy Governance Fieldbook: Practical Lessons, Tips and Tools from the Experience of Real-World Boards (Jossey-Bass, 1999) Caroline Oliver (ed.), Mike Conduff, Susan Edsall, Carol Gabanna, Randee Loucks, Denise Paszkiewicz, Catherine Raso, and Linda Stier
    This handbook draws on the experience of eleven diverse organizations in the U.S. and Canada in meeting the activities and challenges of implementing Policy Governance. The authors (all Policy Governance Academy graduates) analyze what works—and what doesn’t—in real world practice.
  • John Carver on Board Leadership (Jossey-Bass, 2001)
    A comprehensive collection of 115 of John Carver’s most noteworthy articles and essays; includes a Frequently Asked Questions navigation tool for finding specific answers to targeted questions.

See the Jossey-Bass website for these and more (the CarverGuide series, a videotape, audiotape, and the bimonthly Board Leadership newsletter).


  • John Carver’s website includes basic information, a calendar of introductory and training events, and forums for asking questions and sharing experiences. Email polgov [at] aol [dot] com.
  • PolicyGovernance-L is a Unitarian Universalist Association list-serve dedicated to the discussion of the Policy Governance model and its implementation, adaptation, and challenges in Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations. This list is for anyone from any size and shape of UU congregation with an interest in Policy Governance. For more information visit the list site, which includes information about how to subscribe, or write to the list managers at policygovernance-l-owner [at] lists [dot] uua [dot] org.

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