How to manage your new Association Board

How to manage your new Association Board

By Nick Koerbin

Volunteer Board members make up the majority of NFP Association boards, and the turnover of those positions is very high due to the rules of their constitutions.

I often address newly constituted Association Boards not only about general governance matters but also about how they should work together as a Board in making decisions and managing their organisation.

Boards and management of associations have very different roles, and these must be clearly defined to ensure that everyone is completing their responsibilities. When the Board and the CEO work effectively, operations run more smoothly.

Blurred lines between governance and management can cause delays and frustrations, leading to a less successful organisation and negatively affecting the association's ability to achieve its overarching goals.

One of the Board's most crucial responsibilities is selecting the association's CEO. This decision is pivotal as it sets the tone for the entire organisation. The Board also plays an essential role in making central policy and strategy decisions, overseeing performance, and serving as an external advocate. The Board must act in the best interests of the association's stakeholders and work towards the stated vision and mission.

Management is designed to implement the association's vision and mission most effectively as defined by the Board.

The Chief Executive Officer, often the leader of an association's management, holds a crucial role. They are responsible for operational decisions and are the driving force behind implementing the Board's vision. Managers, especially CEOs, have a range of duties and responsibilities that differ from those of members of the Board, and they will be responsible for a team of employees.

For an association to operate successfully, the Board and management must work together effectively. The CEO and the board members should work in close cooperation, as the CEO is the vital link between the Board's vision and the association's operations. This practical cooperation is not just a suggestion but a necessity for the association's success.