Most authors, researchers, and support organizations agree that no one-size-fits-all template dictates how boards should function. Rather, governance gurus urge boards to shape the way they work to the contours of their specific organizations.

Except for John Carver, that is. Carver is the originator of Policy Governance, which his website describes as “the world’s most complete theoretical foundation for the board’s governance role in business, nonprofit (NGO), and government organizations.”

A number of seminaries use Policy Governance, also called the “Carver Model,” as their own framework for 
governance. But like all systems, Carver has its pluses and minuses.

Over the years, In Trust has published several articles on the Carver Model, including these two by Rebekah Burch Basinger:

If you need help thinking through the pros and cons of Policy Governance, or of applying it to your own institution’s work, the In Trust Center’s Resource Consultants can connect you with additional resources. Contact us at