The Board Refresher Every Chapter Needs
Serving on the board of an association chapter is a commitment wrought with challenges, rewards, and an education that in and of itself offers immeasurable value for both the board members and the chapter.
Most board members carry out their duties with great success, balancing their time between the board, their job, and life. They can serve as role models that will directly impact the non-board member experience. The board member’s story should not be overlooked though. Neither should the jobs they do. Surveying current and former board members about how they maintain the balance and get the job done helps members and future board members fulfill whatever positions they choose to take on.
For the success of the chapter, it is important to continually reexamine each board member position within the chapter to ensure that the board is meeting the needs of the chapter.
The job of the president goes far beyond being the most seen spokesperson for the chapter. They ensure the chapter is running smoothly, guiding other board members and helping all members see the value of their membership. The president may carry the greatest weight with regard to the success or failure of the chapter, as measured through the achieving chapter goals. Some association chapters have a board position for Vice President or President-Elect that assists in this role.
This role greatly varies from chapter to chapter, depending on its needs. Basically, the secretary records the communications of the chapter, takes minutes at board meetings and general meetings, and keeps track of key chapter documents. Some chapters may have multiple types of secretaries or none at all. As always, it depends on the needs and size of the chapter.
The job of treasurer involves keeping track of all chapter financial information, from dues paid to expenses incurred, ensuring a balanced budget. At one time this position was likely the most time-consuming, but in the modern era with the use of chapter management software like StarChapter that are designed to track as money comes in or goes out, the treasurer’s job has become more streamlined, even if just as essential.
The membership chair is heavily relied on to maintain an up-to-date and accurate record of all members and member prospects. While this task has gotten less cumbersome with chapter management software, the membership chair is often who tracks the pulse of the member roaster – possibly driving any campaigns to communicate with members about what they want to see in the chapter.
Programs & Events Chair
This role is essential for any group that holds regular events – even monthly meetings. Depending on the size of the chapter and the number of events, this person likely manages a committee of members that do not sit on the board. They track all event information within the chapter management software and manage what information is made available to members and when. They strive to produce a long and rich historical archive to boost membership value.
This role not always exists in association chapters. For local chapters of associations that offer continuous education credits (CE), their job is essential. The education chair, along with a possible non-board committee, maintain records regarding the educational credits and manage access to archived educational material.
Someone has to do it. The website needs to be updated regularly to ensure chapter growth. If the website goes stagnant, so does the chapter. And with chapter management software, anyone can become the webmaster – not just those who are trained in IT or have coding abilities.
Creation or Elimination of Roles as Needed
While the traditional roles above are sufficient for most chapters, the ever-evolving goals of the chapter should drive the creation of new board member positions as needed. From term to term, some positions may even be eliminated. For instance, if management of a conference rotates from chapter to chapter then the board position is only needed in those years a particular chapter hosts it.
No matter what role, the chapter board is an essential part of the member experience. This isn’t limited to the current or future board either. If former board members are happy, then that has a great impact on current board members who in turn will impact membership as a whole. Basically, if everyone does their jobs, asks for help when needed (thus creates a committee), then as a community you can drive chapter success.
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