Good Governance

Make-A-Wish aims to be a high performance organization.

In order to reach this goal, three important building blocks are needed:

  • Excellent boards of directors

  • Highly effective and efficient CEOs

  • Highly effective management teams (recognizing that for our smaller affiliates this may be a combination of staff and volunteers)

They should connect in a collaborative manner to assure effective communication and to complement each other in their specific roles, tasks and responsibilities.

We categorize the specific responsibilities as:

  • Board: Oversight

  • CEO: Leadership

  • Management Team: Implementation

Many thanks to Markos Tambakeras for his contribution to this section on good governance.


Legally our governance is structured within our Affiliation & Licensing Agreement, Policies and Bylaws.

We do not tolerate fraud, theft or unethical behavior.

I agree that it is our responsibility to implement and maintain sound financial controls, accounting procedures, and asset management policies that promote good stewardship and help ensure fiscal viability.

Just as we aim to build resilience in our wish children, our responsibility is to build sustainable organizations for the long term.

Sustainability is the focus of all our operations, from fundraising to wish granting.

Good governance includes measurement metrics and strategy, sound policies, good financial planning, and identifying and managing risks.

Our actions must reflect the global community’s best interests and best practices, and therefore we agree and comply with our International and affiliate’s policies.


Leadership is strategic in its management and driven by our vision. Good management includes setting SMART* goals, performance indicators, and targets.

Essentially, the board’s role is governing, not managing.

The board:

  • Selects and supervises the CEO, sets the CEO compensation, and conducts annual performance evaluations

  • Approves annual and long-term strategies and performance goals

  • Approves resource allocation to support implementation of the vision

  • Approves annual budget and ensures financial monitoring and practices

  • Oversees the legal and ethical integrity of the Make-A-Wish brand and public image

  • Monitors implementation of the strategic and annual plan

  • Maintains a current succession plan and conducts annual self-performance assessment

  • Recognizes the CEO’s responsibility to supervise staff and oversee operations

The CEO:

  • Manages the functions of the organization by overseeing planning and implementation of programs, allocating of resources and supervising staff.

  • Has immediate and operational power and responsibility

  • Manages the day-to-day affairs of the organization

  • Communicates effectively with the board on a regular basis

Within each Make-A-Wish organization, we shall implement sound human resource practices to ensure recruitment of high quality volunteers and professional staff, proper management, training and recognition of our staff and volunteers.

We believe long term investment in our staff is essential as we seek to achieve professionalism in our operations. Our human resource management contains elements like fair pay, performance reviews, transparency, work/life balance, clear job descriptions and clear SMART* goals.

We are mindful of how we portray ourselves as representatives of Make-A-Wish, on social media and in all public arenas.

Our boards make decisions collectively, and represent the diversity of the local and greater international community.

We believe that it is beneficial for the organization to be continually on the lookout for new board members from different facets of the community.

We recruit independent board members who are capable of neutral and independent thinking.

Our board members evaluate their performance both individually and as a team, knowing that as the organization develops, the need for certain profiles changes.

We acknowledge that each affiliate is in its own developmental phase, and that structural change may at times be necessary.

* Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely