Professional associations hold elections for various positions. From board members to representatives today we are going through all of the positions that professional associations need to hold elections for and how candidates are selected.
The board of directors are the governing body of the association. Directors are required to work as part of the board to make decisions that will benefit the professional association and their members. Additionally, directors are responsible for chairing various committees. They ensure that the association is being well managed and report back to the board as a whole on the state of their committees.
This ensures that the whole board has a clear overview of the state of the professional association at all times.
The president is the head of the board of directors and presides over every meeting of the board. Their election process varies between professional associations. Some presidents are elected by the members at large (or their representatives – see more below) while others are selected by the board members themselves.
Similarly, some professional associations have additional presidential roles:
- Past-President: Previous presidents retain a position on the board and are responsible for advising the president and on occasion presiding over meetings when the neither the President nor Vice President are unavailable.
- President-Elect: This position is granted to allow the smooth transitioning of a new president into the board of directors. Often the role of a president is a complex one and candidates are required to learn quickly on the job. Having a term as a president ‘in-training’ can prevent a new president from causing too much disruption.
- Vice-President: A vice president is elected to fill in for the president when they are not available.
Some, all or none of these additional positions may be present in a professional association. The composition of a board of directors should be clearly stated in the professional association’s bylaws.
Treasurer & Secretary
- Treasurer: The treasurer is in charge of maintaining the budget and presenting a detailed and legally valid report of the professional association’s finances.
- Secretary: This role is responsible for the smooth functioning of the board, maintaining detailed and accurate records of meetings and upholding the legal requirements of the association.
These elections are mostly relevant for larger professional associations. Local voters elect a representative who votes on their behalf at the AGM, on bylaw changes and for new board members.
Elections – AGM Voting and Online Elections
All positions in a professional association follow one of three election procedures. At their AGM, in person at designated voting areas, or away from the association by mail or online.
We recommend switching to online elections – either live voting at your AGM or independent of a fixed event. Online elections can:
- Reduce the costs of managing elections
- Minimise the stress and effort involved
- Reduce your carbon footprint
- Help to increase election security