Associations are established by people who share a common interest. They solely exist to serve their membership. In order to have a smoothly running association, the members elect a board of directors to lead the association on their behalf.
Members generally have the right to vote but in some associations, there may be limitations for certain groups of members. For example, members who have joined just recently, corporate, or affiliated members.
Board of directors
The central authority is the board of directors. They are elected by the membership to manage the association and set its direction. The directors on the board are in most cases elected for two years. However, in some associations, the board of directors is re-elected every year at the AGM.
Furthermore, the board of directors includes at least five and up to fifteen officers. The high number is often due to the need to have appropriate representation for affiliates, regional and local chapters, as well as special interest groups.
Officers in the association
The board comprises of four integral positions:
The president of the Association presides at all meetings of the association and the board of directors. In addition, they can appoint certain positions in the association and have further responsibilities as outlined in the respective bylaws.
The vice-president performs the presiding duties of the president when they are absent or request it. Moreover, they fill the vacant office of president if the current president resigns.
The secretary is the custodian of all documents including bylaws and specific rules regarding the association. They are also in charge of all correspondence as directed by the president or board of directors.
The treasurer fulfills the financial duties as constituted in the bylaws. This can include overseeing the association’s funds and preparing financial statements for audit.
Councils and committees
The board of directors is elected by the membership since it is directly accountable to them. Additional officers for councils and committees are appointed by the president.
Voting process in association elections
The voting process depends on the size of the association. Smaller associations may conduct their elections at an AGM, online, postally or at a regular meeting. However, the larger the association, the more the need for more complex voting procedures. Many associations use postal voting for those who cannot attend the AGM.
In recent years, online voting procedures have grown in popularity. A many associations now elect their board online, helping to boost voter turnout, reduce the costs of election management and stress involved with postal and absentee ballots. Read more about the online voting possibilities for your association.