Policy Governance 101

Let’s begin with a very basic question, what is the primary purpose of a board of directors? Are they the place where a group of folks divide up responsibilities and report progress to each other? Though that is descriptive of what many boards of directors do, especially in the boards of directors in small clubs, it is not descriptive of what we call best practices.

A successful board of directors will concentrate on doing their job while allowing others the opportunity to do their jobs. So, what is the job of a board of directors? Defining ends is the primary task of Governance by the board. That means they are more of a think tank for vision than a reviewer and manager of activities. The job of the board of directors is to focus on outcomes; focus on the reasons for which the organization exists.

Everything your Rotary Club does should be done because the board of directors established a policy describing the desirable outcome and establishes the direction or authorization for that project or protocol.

For consideration, the following are some examples of policies a board of directors might adopt. These examples are incomplete and intended for starting thinking about policies.

  1. It is the policy of the board of directors of the Rotary Club of Somewhere that this club will be active in all five avenues of service as described in Article 6 of our Club Constitution.
  2. It is the policy of the board of directors of the Rotary Club of Somewhere that this club will annually provide financial support and participate in the programs of the Rotary Foundation.
  3. It is the policy of the board of directors of the Rotary Club of Somewhere that this club will not have a weekly meeting once during each quarter and have a social event for all members and their partners on the day of the regular meeting. These social events will be intended to promote the first Object of Rotary, “The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service.”
  4. It is the policy of the board of directors of the Rotary Club of Somewhere that this club will provide financial support, participate in the programs of and encourage members to provide leadership to District 5300 of Rotary International.
  5. It is the policy of the board of directors of the Rotary Club of Somewhere that this club will be diligent in maintaining and expanding the current level of membership.
  6. It is the policy of the board of directors of the Rotary Club of Somewhere that this club will establish and pay a suitable stipend for the president-elect to attend the Rotary International Convention in the year prior to becoming the club president.

Please keep in mind that these are only the partial examples of what policies should like. Next week we will talk more about what policies are and how they should look.

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