• ORGANISATIONAL GOVERNANCE AND LEADERSHIP



    This area focuses on the top leadership of an organization with special emphasis on the strategic bodies (both executive and advisory structures) that oversee and provide the general focus of an organization. It aims at separating its functions from those of the day to day running of the organizations.



Board Governance and Leadership Training Module

Background

Objectives of the Training Material

Who is this Training Material For?

I. What is Governance?

II. What is a Board of Directors?

III. What are the Governing Documents of a Board?

IV. Board´s Major Roles and Responsibilities?

4.1. Duties of the Board .

4.2. Board Functions and Governance

4.3. Board Responsibilities

4.4. Roles and Responsibilities of the Board Vs Senior Management

V. Desired Board Member Characteristics

VI. Board Structure and Board Member Roles

VII. Individual Board Members’ Duties

VIII. Effective Board: Conditions for Effective Governance

8.1. Quality of the board members

8.2. Characteristic of an effective Board

8.3. Key Message

IX. Leadership

9.1. Definitions

9.2. Leaders and Leadership: Some Alternative Perceptions

9.3. Leadership Vs Management

9.4. Leadership Traits, Styles and Competencies

9.5. Followers and Teams

9.6. NGO Leaders: Context and Culture

This Training Material is developed to serve as a practical training guide for the participating Board of Directors of CORHA’s member associations to enable greater efficiency and effectiveness of the works of their respective CSOs. Moreover, This Training Material is also intended to serve as reference guide for leaders and implementers of projects. The material has two major sections with their own sub sections. The first section deals with Board Governance while the second section deals with Leadership.

The training will enable member associations develop new knowledge, skills and practices in the effort to enhance organizational efficiency and effectiveness, so as to ensure quality and standard FP/MCH services to the needy. So this training material (with different sections and subsections packaged together) has been prepared with the objectives of enabling board members have appropriate knowledge, skills and practices in the key thematic focus areas.

This training material is mainly developed for CORHA and its member associations in their effort to build the Board capacity. However, other CSOs whose members did not participate in the training and with the interest and commitment to develop their Board governance and leadership capacity can also use and benefit from this training material.

Good governance is a key factor to ensure the growth and sustainability of civil society organisations (CSOs). Below are some definitions of governance:

Governance refers to a system of oversight, exercise of authority, or control within an NGO

Good governance is a transparent decision-making process in which the leadership of a nonprofit organisation, in an effective and accountable way, directs resources and exercises power on the basis of shared values.

Governance is the way in which an organisation distributes powers, rights, and accountability.

Governance is the activity performed by an entity (such as a board, a city council, or a legislature) that holds authority within a system. In an organizational system such as a nonprofit, authority is granted to the board of directors by the state when the organization is incorporated. The board is authorized to make decisions and set policies that define how the organization will carry out its mission; it is also held accountable for the actions that follow those decisions and policies. The board then governs the organization?that it, it directs and guides the organization from its position of authority

Governance is a process that involves;

A system of check and balances between owners and other stake holders who set the standard and objectives of accountability of a given institution.

Leadership and commitment to ensure fulfillment of the institution’s mission and

protection of its assets over time.

Guidance by the board of directors, the governance is under the direction of the board

It is a process though which a board of directors, guides an institution in fulfilling its corporate mission and protects the institution’s assets over time


Individual directors have to work in partnership to balance strategic and operational responsibilities

Effective governance can ensure that your organisation has a strategic direction and that the people who are supposed to benefit from the organisation‘s activities are getting as much support as they can. It can protect your organisation from being used by individuals for their private gain, and ensure it is accountable to the public, members, beneficiaries, donors and, where appropriate, to the state. Accountability is particularly important for organisations working with or on behalf of disadvantaged people, and which raise funds on that basis.

One common form of governance is to place ultimate responsibility for the actions of the organisation in the hands of a board of management – a group of people who are elected or appointed to oversee the work of the organisation. This body – and these people – are ultimately responsible for everything that is done in the name of the organisation.

Governance is a group action. Individual board members do not govern the organization; rather meeting as a group confers governing status to the board as a whole. Governance impliesthe exercise of power and authority overtheorganization on behalf of the community it serves.

CSOs are directed and controlled by a governing body, or a board of directors. You may also encounter names such as board of governors or board of trustees. The board has a legal, moral, and fiduciary responsibility for the organisation.


A board is a group of external people who collaborate to provide technical, managerial, and financial support to an organisation.

The board is ultimately responsible for governing the organisation and holds legal responsibility for the organisation and its operations.

The board helps develop, support, and defend the organisation‘s mission. Board members ensure that the organisation is responsive to the needs of its stakeholders. It is important that both the organisation and the board members themselves have a clear understanding of the board‘s roles and responsibilities and the nature of its interactions with senior management.

The board should comprise individuals who are willing to dedicate time and resources to the organisation. Members should have a broad range of qualities and expertise, including professional skills, management experience, and recognition among the public. The board members should complement each other and the organisation‘s staff

Three documents form the basis for CSO governance: articles of incorporation, bylaws, and the mission statement. These documents, along with the minutes of board meetings, budgets, financial statements, and policy statements, communicate how the organisation is governed, individual responsibilities, the organisation‘s past, and the organisation‘s future plans.

The articles of incorporation is a legal document that is filed with the appropriate government agency to register the organisation as a CSO. Incorporating a CSO, according to the statutory authority of the country, may protect the CSO and its members from unhappy consequences, such as liability for the organisation‘s debts. Tax advantages are


commonly available to registered CSOs. Law prescribes the form and content of articles of incorporation. Although requirements vary from country to country, typical items required in articles of incorporation for a CSO include:

Name of the organisation

Duration of the organisation (usually perpetual)

Purpose for which the organisation is formed

Provision for conducting the internal affairs of the organisation

Names and address of the incorporators

Address of the initial registered office and name of the initial registered

agent of the organisation

Provision for distribution of the assets of the organisation on dissolution

The stated purpose of the organisation should be broad enough to enable the organisation to evolve as necessary to serve its constituency. Articles of incorporation outline the organisation‘s form. A set of bylaws, developed by the organisation‘s constituents and approved by the board, supplements the articles by prescribing detailed rules for governing the organisation.

Bylaws often begin with a restatement of the name and purpose of the organisation as written in the articles of incorporation. Bylaws are internal documents, a set of rules that enables each organisation to conduct its affairs. It is important they be written clearly and in language that is easily understood by all organisation stakeholders. Typical items addressed in the bylaws are:

The frequency, notice, and quorum requirements for organizational meetings

Voting qualifications, proxies, and procedures for approval of board items

The number and term for members of the board, scope of authority, method of nomination and election to the board, and provision for filling vacancies.

List of board officers, method of nomination and election, terms of office, powers, duties, and succession.

Membership and authority of standing committees


Title and scope of authority for the executive director/chief of staff

Record-keeping and financial reporting responsibilities

Amendment procedures for the bylaws and provisions for dissolution of the organisation

It is wise to stop short of having too much detail in the bylaws to allow flexibility and avoid the necessity of frequent amendments.

For example: A new public health CSO wants to raise funds on behalf of a community hospital and decides on an annual banquet as a fundraiser. Over time, this event declines in popularity and the organisation decides to hold an annual campaign instead of holding the banquet. If the bylaws specifically mandate the existence of the banquet committee, the organisation would have to work through an amendment to make the operational change. It is better for the board to have the authority to abolish the old committee and establish a new one so that it may proceed with the new project.

Writing and gaining approval for a set of bylaws takes thought, time, and the involvement of the organisation‘s constituents. Bylaws should be written with an emphasis on fair treatment and transparent governance. Review the bylaws of several CSOs before attempting to write a new set of bylaws.

The mission statement is a communications tool—it guides the board and staff and explains the nature of the CSO to those outside the organisation. Therefore, it needs to be concise and memorable.

The mission statement is generally more specific than the CSO‘s purpose that appears in the articles of incorporation. Some mission statements are a single sentence, some a short paragraph, and some bulleted statements. The mission statement expresses the group‘s values. Writing a mission statement forces CSO stakeholders to think through their priorities and carefully align behavior with beliefs.


A mission statement should clearly and concisely answer all three questions shown in the following formula.

Who does the CSO serve? + How are they served? + Where are they served? = a complete mission statement

Effective governance occurs when a board provides proper policies and guidance to management regarding the strategic direction for the institution, and oversees management’s efforts to move in this direction. The interplay between board and management centers on this relationship between strategy and operation, both of which are essential for the successful evolution of the institution.

4.1. Duties of the Board

1. Legal Obligations

The board must ensure that the following is fulfilled:-

The institution complies with its articles of incorporation, bylaws, and internal policies and procedures.

The board must ensure that the institution maintains its legal status.

The board must also ensure that the institution complies with government rules and regulations, which will vary with the institution’s corporate structure. For example, as a microfinance institution becomes regulated, it will be subject to a new set of regulatory requirements that the board must understand.

A final element of the board’s legal obligations is the level of personal liability of individual directors for the institution’s activities. Such liability varies by country, yet board members must be keenly aware of the degree of responsibility and immunity provided for them by local law.

2. Strategic Direction


The board ensures that the institutions’ Mission is well defined, reviewed periodically and

respected over time. The board ensures that

The institution has a formal vision and mission statement that clarifies the purpose of the institution

The vision and mission is understood and provides management with direction and an enabling environment to fulfill the same.

Review the vision regularly every 3-5 years and amend the vision statement if necessary to respond to a changing environment or shifting priorities.

Effective strategic planning, the management prepares the plan and the board overseas and approves the plans.

Enhances the image of the institution, the board of directors invests their personal time, networks in promoting the institutions image.

3. Fiduciary

The board serves as the institution’s steward as the highest authority within the

institution

Ensures that the institution’s properties are managed in a manner that is consistent with agreed-upon values and goals

Ensure that the institution has adequate resources to implement the agreed upon plans

Understanding the short- term and long –term financial position in relation to the strategic plan

Taking necessary action to secure additional resources needed for implementation of

the plans

Guarantees the long-term viability in balancing between long term and short term objectives on use of funds.

4. Oversight

The board oversees/governs the institution and in the oversight it undertakes the following:

Appoints and oversees the performance of the managing director/CEO

Assigns responsibility for the daily operations to the managing director


Monitors operations and business performance through frequent and transparent reports, regular board and committee meetings, periodic on site visits and internal and external audits

Evaluates the institution performance against other CSOs that are similar based on age and size of the institution, its target market and the region in which it operates.

Assesses and responds to internal and external risks

Internal risks include portfolio deterioration, fraud, over expansion and client desertion.

External risks e.g. natural calamity, civil strife, financial crisis and government intervention

Board should establish a system that established early warning signals and ensure that the CSO operated prudently in such challenges.

Protects the institutions in times of crises by intervening as necessary and developing plans to address the problem

5. Self-Assessment

Objective self-assessment should bring out the board strengths and weaknesses and identify the ways in which the board can overcome the problems even if it’s through exclusion or inclusion of board members.

4.2. Board Functions and Governance

The board‘s primary function is governance, or serving as a supervisory and complementary body in the structure and operation of an organisation, with legal responsibility for its performance. The board‘s governance responsibilities protect the interests of the organisation and its stakeholders.

Governance activities can include policy decision-making and oversight of the

organisation’s financial and administrative operations.


The board presides over the establishment and implementation of organizational policy, strategic planning, budgeting (including the approval of annual budgets), and the preparation of business plans and other important administrative resolutions. The board helps set strategy and policy objectives, provides feedback on the manner in which the organisation‘s staff intends to meet these objectives (in terms of planned activities, programs, etc.), and evaluates the organisation‘s performance (both financially and in terms of its impact in the community). The board also ensures compliance with laws and regulations, including regulations set by donors. The board is not intended to manage an organisation but rather to guide it to achieve its mission through sound strategic plans and rational policies.

The board‘s governance function is collective in nature, and decisions should ideally reflect the contributions of all board members. The executive director should prevent the opinion or contribution of any one board member from dominating the rulings of the board; no board member should be given special consideration or privileges. Board members should bear in mind that their decisions are to be objective and that personal interests are not to be advanced by their membership on the board.

Support. The board also supports the organisation, working to guarantee its overall success. The board seeks to strengthen the organisation by using, for example, the expertise of individual board members or connections in the community.

The supportive functions of the board also include:

Encouraging, facilitating, and promoting fundraising efforts: For example, the board may help the organisation hold a fund drive each year or arrange for high-profile speakers to appear at benefit events.

Advising management and providing technical input according to the board members‘ individual experience and professional capabilities: For example, an accountant on the board may suggest certain types of financial management reports to better inform donors about the organisation‘s performance.


Performing tasks related to the organisation‘s mission, including advocacy activities to promote the organisation to stakeholders and the general public: For example, an influential board member may assist in recruiting a popular musician to give a concert at the organisation‘s health fair.

In addition to the roles described above, the board also has a number of obligations and responsibilities. These range from participating in meetings to providing fundamental support for the organisation‘s mission.

The most important are to support the organisation and ensure that its presence in the community is positive and influential.

4.3. Board Responsibilities

Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards

1. Determine the organisation‘s mission and purposes

2. Select the chief executive

3. Support and evaluate the chief executive

4. Ensure effective planning

5. Monitor and strengthen programs and services

6. Ensure adequate financial resources

7. Protect assets and provide financial oversight

8. Build a competent board

9. Ensure legal and ethical integrity

10. Enhance the organisation´s public standing

1. Determine the Mission and Purpose

The board is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the organisation is responsive to its stakeholders and that its mission is focused on the needs of the community. The board should be involved in the strategic planning process, especially in developing the organisation‘s mission statement, which expresses its overall purpose. In the case of


nonprofit providers of health services, this means the board protects the interests of the

organisation‘s patients and members of the community it serves.

2. Select the Chief Executive

The board is responsible for reaching consensus on the chief executive´s responsibilities and undertaking a careful search to find the most qualified person for the position.

3. Support and Evaluate the Chief Executive

The board must ensure that the chief executive has the moral and professional support he or she needs to further the goals of the organisation. The board is obligated to evaluate the performance of the executive director and should carry out an annual performance review to assess his/her accomplishments.

4. Ensure Effective Planning

Boards must actively participate in an overall planning process and assist in implementing and monitoring the plan´s goals.

5. Monitor and Strengthen Programs and Services

The board works with the executive director to develop programs that are consistent with the organisation‘s mission and strategic objectives. It also provides oversight to the implementation of these programs, not in terms of program management (which is done by the executive director and the staff), but in terms of effectiveness. The board should evaluate whether the organisation‘s programs are carried out as effectively and efficiently as possible.

6. Ensure Adequate Financial Resources


One of the most important responsibilities of the board is to assure adequate financial resources for the organisation to fulfill its mission. The board must work to ensure that the organisation has the resources necessary to achieve its goals and meet the needs of its community.

7. Protect assets and provide financial oversight

The board is involved in financial decision-making and must approve all annual operating budgets or multi-year budgets. The board must reinforce policies and procedures that guarantee the appropriate use of money, including the establishment of internal controls. It also regulates the use of large amounts of money and often approves large capital purchases in advance. For example, a clinic would likely need the board‘s consent before buying new vehicles for its outreach services. The board also enforces compliance with local laws and with regulations set by donors (for example, requiring separate bank accounts for restricted donor funds).

The executive director submits financial reports to the board on a regular basis, preferably each quarter. The board reviews the reports and discusses any problems with the director (for example, discrepancies in the budget). In addition, the board should insist on an annual audit of the organisation‘s finances by an external party and should meet with the auditor and director to discuss the results. The audit reports should be addressed to the board.

8. Build a competent board

The board must sustain itself by recruiting new members as needed. All boards have a responsibility to articulate prerequisites. When new members join the board, the group works together to orient the new members to the organisation‘s mission, strategy, and work plan, and to the responsibilities of the board. Board periodically and comprehensively evaluate their own performance.

9. Ensure Legal and Ethical Integrity


As mentioned, the board works to develop organizational policies and internal controls to protect against fraud and abuse, ensures that the organisation follows local laws and complies with regulations set by donors, and requires regular financial reporting and annual audits. These responsibilities help maintain the organisation‘s accountability.

The board also maintains the organisation‘s ethical integrity by encouraging fair practices and moral decision-making by the executive director. Issues of moral concern should be presented to the board for resolution.

10. Enhance the Organisation’s Public Standing

The board members serve as representatives of the organisation on a higher level — in the eyes of the community, the business community, the donor community, the government, and elsewhere. The board supports and promotes the organisation and seeks to communicate the organisation‘s mission, accomplishments and goals to the public and garner support from the community.

A Note on Problem-Solving Boards have an ongoing responsibility for helping the executive director deal with major problems. These could include complex personnel problems, addressing audit recommendations, lawsuits, etc.

4.4. Roles and Responsibilities of the Board Vs Senior Management

No single relationship in the organisation is as important as that between the board and its chief executive officer. That relationship, well-conceived, can set the stage for effective governance and management. — John Carver, Boards that Make a Difference, 1990

The board is intended to complement and support the management structure of the organisation. Partnership and collaboration between the executive director and the board


enhances the successful implementation of policies, service delivery, administrative tasks, and financial management.

The executive director10 and the members of the board must have distinct, well- defined responsibilities.

The lines of authority among different people within the organisation must be clearly defined. These roles are built upon the mission of the organisation. However, while both the executive director and the board share responsibility for helping the organisation fulfill its mission and goals, their responsibilities differ in the following specific ways:

The executive director is responsible for implementing programmatic activities and for overall management of the organisation to meet its goals. In other words, the organisation‘s senior management directs.

The board, on the other hand, makes policies, assists in setting the strategic direction of the organisation, and provides oversight and supervision to ensure that the management and operations of the organisation are legal, effective, and appropriate (fair and ethical). The board governs and is legally responsible for the organisation.

An effective board is as important to the success of your organisation as having qualified and competent staff. The most successful organisations are usually those in which board members and professional staff are aware of, and committed to, their respective roles and responsibilities, and are working together to fulfil these. The board members need to oversee the organisation, monitoring its overall performance and progress as it seeks to achieve its aims and objectives. In consultation with staff, they will set policy that determines long-term direction and strategy. This is different from management. Where an organisation employs professional staff, it is vital that the board allows staff the freedom to manage the organisation on a day-to-day basis. However, board members retain, and must accept, ultimate legal responsibility for everything that an organisation does and how it does it.

The board´s effectiveness depends both on its composition and on members´

conduct.

A diverse board increases the board‘s effectiveness and expands the leadership base. As the board looks for talented people, the following characteristics should be considered: Skills or Expertise: Board members should have professional skills or experience that will be valuable to the organisation and/or a respected public standing with a high capacity to be influential. (For example, the members can range from senior accountants and lawyers, to village elders or religious leaders who are well-respected and supported, to local celebrities.) It is desirable to have some board members with personnel management, fiscal, or legal expertise.

Commitment: An essential characteristic is the commitment board members have to the organisation. They should understand the needs of the organisation and its beneficiaries and should be supportive and willing to stand up for the organisation and its mission. Volunteer: They should be able to volunteer time to serve on the board and to participate in the organisation‘s activities.

Diversity: Inclusiveness is better achieved when a board has an equal number of men and women; people of different ages; representatives of the major races, ethnicities, and religions of stakeholders; and representatives of the client populations being served.

Potential board members should be able to demonstrate, or have the potential to develop, the following attributes:

willingness to commit time

willingness to use their influence and connections to secure funds


willingness to use their influence and contacts to advocate on behalf of the organisation and its beneficiaries

good judgment

ability to think strategically

discretion in working with others on confidential issues

ability to work in a team

In addition to these characteristics, board members are responsible for their personal conduct and for working in the best interest of the organisation they serve. They should:

Serve the needs of the organisation first: Each board member must serve the needs of the organisation before any personal or business interests. For example, a board member should not invest in or own a private clinic near the nonprofit clinic on whose board he or she serves.

Be objective: A board member must make objective decisions that are in the best interest of the organisation‘s mission and future. He or she must be impartial to personal preferences and must analyze issues in the organisation‘s point of view.

Board members have a better chance of being effective if they quickly become familiar with the organisation, the board‘s responsibilities, and structure. The chair of the nominating committee or chairperson of the board often conducts board member orientation. The CSO‘s staff can prepare an orientation notebook containing copies of the organisation‘s bylaws, mission statement, strategic plans, board structure, minutes of the last board meetings, and other useful information to present to the new board members at their orientation.

To retain good board members, make the meetings interesting and productive. At least a week before the meeting, send out a meeting agenda and the topics that will be discussed. Provide board members with opportunities to become involved with specific projects. Board members are more likely to stay active if they have meaningful work.


Thank board members for their work—they are volunteers. Have fun, hold social events, and try to create a sense of community and commitment.

The constitution should detail how a regular flow of new members will be recruited to ensure that membership does not become static and moribund. Typically, a board member will serve for two years before standing for re-election. Most organisations limit the number of terms that a board member may serve (usually two or three terms).

Board members should work in a voluntary and unpaid capacity, but have their expenses paid.

6.1.Board Structure

How are Boards Structured? The structure and size of the board depend on the structure and size of the organisation. Larger organisations have large and more complex boards; smaller organisations have smaller boards. When a nonprofit organisation is formed, it should develop a set of bylaws rules that define the structure and legal responsibility of how the organisation is run. The bylaws should include a section that defines the structure, size, and duties of the board. These bylaws serve as the framework for the broader policies governing the board.

In larger boards, committees are often formed to carry out certain tasks or make certain types of decisions. For example, there might be a fundraising committee (to recommend strategies for securing external funding), a finance committee (to participate directly in solving financial concerns), or an audit committee (that meets with external auditors after the annual audit to discuss findings). In smaller boards, having multiple committees may be neither feasible nor necessary.

A board should have leadership, generally a chairperson who organizes the board and provides guidance to members. The chairperson also works directly with the executive


director to ensure that the relationship between the board and the organisation‘s staff remains positive and strong. The board chairperson is elected, preferably by a majority vote of the board members. Other board positions can also be created (as appropriate for the size of your organisation and board), such as vice-president, secretary, treasurer, or others.

Boards tend to work effectively when they are structured to carry out each unique mission of the CSO and maximize the individual talents of board members. Dividing the board into committees is a common mechanism for:

Organizing the board‘s work to accomplish the CSO‘s mission.

Preparing board members for making informed decisions.

Using board members‘ skills and expertise (i.e., a board member with financial experience serves on the finance committee and one with a deep understanding of the clients‘ needs serves on the program committee).

Providing opportunities to become involved and serve the organisation.

Below is an example of one board structure for a high-capacity CSO. Keep in mind that no one board structure is a good fit for all CSOs.

Chairperson of the Board

Usually is elected by the board for a set term.

Presides over general board meetings.

Speaks on behalf of the organisation to the public and media.

Chairs the executive committee.

Vice Chairperson

Usually succeeds the chairperson at the end of his or her term in office.

Assists the chairperson and serves in his or her absence.

Often chairs the nominating committee.

Standing Committees


Normally are described in the bylaws.

Usually include the:

Executive Committee:

Board chairperson/president, vice chairperson, secretary, and treasurer. Executive committee has authority to make certain decisions between meetings.

Finance Committee:

The treasurer usually chairs this committee. It provides financial oversight for the organisation, advises the board on the budget and financial affairs.

Nominating or Governance Committee:

Often chaired by the CSO‘s vice chairperson. Identifies new board members and nominates individuals to serve as CSO officers.

Ongoing Committees

Normally not prescribed in the bylaws, but necessary to achieve the organisation‘s

mission.

Might include a program committee, marketing committee, research committee, education committee, etc.

Allow the board more flexibility to conduct its business and tailor committees to fit the mission of the organisation.

Ad Hoc Committees or Task Forces

Given assignments to be completed in a specified time (fundraising or a special event).

Disband after their task has been completed.

Often extremely productive because they have defined tasks to complete within a limited time frame.


Advisory Committees

Individuals with specific expertise selected as committee members. They provide the board with information and advice to understand difficult or complex issues such as a construction project, client demographics, trends in government support, public policy debates, etc.

Offer advantages to boththe committee members and the board. Committee members have an opportunity to learn more about the CSO and its board—some may be recruited later as board members.

Can provide a greater division of labor and fresh new perspectives.

6.2.What is the Role of the Chairperson of the Board?

The chair (or president) of the board is a key position. Choose the chair carefully and plan their succession well in advance, if possible enabling the new chair to serve first as deputy chair. The chair leads the board, making sure that members fulfil their responsibilities for the governance of the organisation. The chair works closely with the executive director, supporting him/her in achieving the aims of the organisation and acting as the channel of communication between board members and staff.

Below are sample duties for Chairperson of the Board:

Lead the board in setting the strategy and policy of the organisation

Plan the annual cycle of board meetings

Oversee/chair board and executive committee meetings

Serve as ex-officio member of all committees

Work in partnership with the executive director to make sure board resolutions are carried out

Call special meetings as necessary

Appoint all committee chairs and, with the executive director, recommend who will serve on committees

Assist executive director in preparing agenda for board meetings


Assist executive director in conducting new board member orientation

Oversee searches for a new executive director

Coordinate executive director's annual performance evaluation

Sit on appointment panels for senior staff

Work with the nominating committee to recruit new board members

Coordinate periodic board assessment with the executive director

Act as an alternate spokesperson for the organisation

Periodically consult with board members on their roles and help them assess their performance.

The chairperson should communicate openly and fairly with the director. He or she should also work in partnership with the director to keep an overview of the organisation´s affairs and to provide support as appropriate.

The deputy chair or vice-chair takes on the functions and responsibilities of the chair, when the chair is not available.

6.3.What is the Role of the Secretary?

The secretary supports the chair by ensuring the smooth functioning of the board. This role may be carried out by a member of staff, rather than a board member. It is the secretary‘s responsibility to do (or delegate) the following tasks:

receive agenda items from board members/staff

prepare agendas with the chair and director, and circulate these along with any relevant papers required for discussion

make all the arrangements for meetings (such as booking the room, arranging for equipment and refreshments, organizing facilities for those with special needs)

check that a quorum is present (a quorum is the number of members that must be present to constitute a valid meeting – for example, a third or half the number of board members, including the chair)


minute the meetings, ensure that the minutes are signed by the chair once they have been approved, and circulate them

sit on appraisal and recruitment panels as required

6.4.Role of the Executive Director with Regard to the Board?

The director (or chief executive) plays an important role in ensuring good governance and developing the board. The relationship between the director and chair of the board is one of the most crucial in the organisation. It is the responsibility of the director to:

develop, update, and present to the board job descriptions for senior staff and board members

maintain a good working relationship and good communications with the chair of the board

keep the board informed about the progress of the organisation

provide orientation to new board members

help the board to understand its role in policy development and in maintaining an overview of the organisation

encourage periodic board retreats and other self-study exercises

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