Your position on the Board of Directors carries extensive responsibilities. Your commitment to the mission and purpose of the Association is critical. You are one of the most visible representatives of the Association and the profession. Your knowledge of the Association must be complete, and your voice must be one of consistency. It is our hope that this Leadership Handbook will give you the information you need to have a successful and rewarding term on the leadership team. This handbook has been prepared to provide you with a sense of continuity and awareness of all aspects of ACTE, including expectations of leadership, the governance and staff structure, policies and procedures, and association programs and services.


“The information and training materials on this website are supplied by the author and have not been edited by us. We have provided these materials as a central resource for our users, but we encourage you to carefully evaluate their relevance and accuracy for your own purposes. Please note that the views and opinions expressed in these materials do not necessarily reflect those of our organization, and we cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions they may contain. It is your responsibility to verify the accuracy and appropriateness of these materials before using them. Proper attribution to the original authors is always required when using these materials, and you should also follow any applicable copyright or licensing requirements.”

Board of Directors Leadership Handbook

.This handbook has been prepared to provide you a sense of continuity and awareness of all aspects of ACTE, including expectations of leadership, the governance and staff structure, policies and procedures and association programs and services.

5 Things To Do If You Want To Be An Outstanding Board Member

Congratulations You have accepted a position as a member of your community association Board of Directors.

The ABCs Of Coop Impact

Today’s economic climate is marked by growing insecurity in the face of structural changes to work, benefits, and business ownership. Small business start-ups are at their all-time lows, and entrepreneurship is lower among millennials than previous generations at those same ages

The Best Advice You Can Get About Serving On Your Board

As a board member your responsible for balancing the needs and obligations of the community with thouse of individual owners.

Career Defining Decisions

As the associations/chamber CEO, I’m often the first employee to show up at the office. This day I put my key in the door but it does not budge. I’m sure it’s the right key but it does not give me access.

Co-op Essentials

This is an educational guide for teaching basic information about cooperatives. It explains what cooperatives are—their business, principle, and structural characteriza- tions, and the responsibilities and roles of cooperative members, directors, managers, and employees.

Director Role Profile

Co-operatives UK is the network for Britain’s thousands of co-operatives. We work to promote, develop and unite member-owned businesses across the economy. From high street retailers to community owned pubs, fan owned football clubs to farmer controlled businesses, co-operatives are everywhere and together they are worth £36 billion to the British economy.

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

28 Phrases You Wouldn’t Want to Hear in the Association Office

“The Board Governs, the Staff Manages”

Volunteer leaders are responsible for the direction and future of the organization. The board acts and thinks strategically, setting goals and strategies for the future with input from members, stakeholders and committees. The board continuously conducts an environmental scan. Leaders should avoid micromanagement of the organization, maintaining focus on mission, vision, values and goals.

Board Manual

Once upon a time in December 2009, some creative and community minded folks from Riverwest got together to talk about how to foster, encourage and create more cooperatively modeled local community minded businesses and services. What grew from those meetings was the concept of the Riverwest Cooperative Alliance and the Public House was born to model the model and to organize and support the development of more co-ops in our neighborhood.

Values at the Board Table

Contemporary boards are identifying and promoting their steadfast values. Values guide current and future leaders in their deliberation and decision making. A values statement is promoted along with the organization’s mission and vision statements.

Board Size Matters

When the meeting convened there were 12 empty seats. Nearly half of the directors did not show up. They addressed the problem by reducing the size of a quorum from 50 to 40 percent or only 12 people.

The Role Of A Co-operative Board

The role of a cooperative board is to ensure the long-term success of the enterprise in accordance with the cooperative alliance.

We All Need Reminders Now and Then

A Member came into the office one day and asked "How much rent do I owe?" The Member was thrilled when the Office Staff advised that the Member owed no rent at all. They then offered to inform the Member what they owed in carrying charges.

How To Manage And Inspire Your Nonprofits Board

Board members also hold an invaluable role in an organization’s fundraising efforts. Their support (whether in time or dollars) affects donor behavior and determines a development team’s job satisfaction and likelihood for success. Simply put, a board can make or break an organization’s fundraising program. And research shows most boards need work.

Boardroom Volleyball

Ever watch a board meeting that looked more like a volleyball game? The sport is between teams of players separated by a net, each trying to score points before the ball hits the ground. (Equate the board table to the net.)

Guiding Principles and Board Values

Organizations develop guiding principles from inception. Founding leaders instill their values. Through time, culture and environmental changes, the ideals evolve.

Conveying the Role of the Board

Not all directors know the meaning of governance. Some join the board with experience in their own work settings --- making administrative or tactical decisions each day. This is not governance.

Opportunities in Cooperatives

A committee of cooperative leaders working with youth organizations and programs asked Agricultural Cooperative Service to develop a O-month program to provide guidelines for sponsoring Scout Explorer, 4-H, Future Farmers of America, Future Home Makers, and other groups included in the 18 to 20 youth organizations with whom cooperative business leaders work. This publication is the result.

Enhancing the Weakest Link

Associations want to portray strength. If the national is composed of state chapters, or the state has local components, all of them should perform at a certain level to deliver consistent value to members.

Epiphany’s Essential Leadership Coaching Guide

As an HR leader, you are responsible for the human element of business success. You need to grow your top talent, fill new roles and ensure success in current roles. This is where we come in and make your life easy.

Formatted for Board Leadership Manuals

Boards of directors benefit from an annual orientation. This ensures they have received or have access to the most important governing documents, understand the budget, review the program of work or strategic plan, disclose conflicts of interest, and are cautioned against antitrust violations. State and federal governments afford volunteers immunity so long as they are working within the governing documents; be sure to record in the minutes that orientation occurred and the documents transferred.

The Gift and Opportunity for Leadership

I met a young women in the Middle East who volunteered as a trainer for her association. We discussed the goals of the organization and she asked what I thought of the mission and vision statements.

Leadership Training Manual for Women Leaders of Cooperatives International Labour

However, women’s participation in formally registered mixed cooperatives remains low as compared to men. Socio-economic and cultural conditioning over the ages, account for their low confidence levels and lack of leadership skills, linked with the obvious lack of opportunities for education, training or exposure, communication and networking. Studies undertaken by the ILO on “Legal Constraints to Women’s Participation in Cooperatives

Bullies in the Boardroom

There is no phenomenon more damaging, disruptive and counter-productive to associations than that of a director who takes on the role of bully. It is disruptive and hurtful. Directors or staff may resign stating, “This is not why I got involved in this association.”

Advocacy in a Pandemic

Now is the time to increase advocacy efforts, not put it on the back burner. During the pandemic, members are desperate. Rightfully, they turn to the association, their trusted source and indispensable partner.

Arm the Chief Elected Officer

The new chairman or president of the board has every intention of doing a good job to lead the organization. His or her primary role is to advance the mission and strategic plan -- producing significant results during the term of office.

The Association’s DNA

DNA is the building blocks of the body. Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions for the development and function of living things. Unless you’ve invested in a DNA kit to check your family tree or health prospects, you don’t give it much thought.

Instilling a Corporate Culture

Corporate culture can be described as the beliefs and behaviors that determine how volunteers and staff interact and handle decisions. Some nonprofit boards refute the idea of corporate culture.

Vertical Association Resources

The USA has more than 150,000 associations. Nearly 3,000 national associations reside in the Washington DC area. The majority of associations in the US are state and local in scope. Where do association professionals turn for help?


To hear Bob Harris, CAE (yes, C-A-E -more on that later) describe his typical work, anyone would get exhausted just listening to his itnerary: four-day trip this week, three-day gig the previous week, and two-in-one­week engagements he has planned for the following week. And if you think that's a lot, he also works for a hotel group and mentors a budding nonprofit professional. .. in Belarus.

Associations Adapt for Relevance

One of the most compelling books for association change is, “Race for Relevance: 5 Radical Changes for Associations.” Though everyday adaptations are not always “radical,” boards might focus less on their past and more on the future.

Associations are Made for Times Like These

As the economy was faltering and associations began hurting, Ukrainian executive Kateryna Glazkova circulated a statement, “Associations are made for times like these

Associations of the Future

At the Institute for Organizational Management1 offered by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation I have the opportunity to teach – or facilitate – a class entitled Strong Associations for the Future.

Bacon and the Board Meeting

Meeting planners are recognizing the importance of advising whether or not breakfast includes protein. The opposite might be an assortment of donuts or Danish pastries characterized as sugary white flour with a sweet filling or topping.

Before Board Service, Ask Tough Questions

Some of the bad things that happen to board members happen because they don't ask any questions about what service will entail. Bob Harris, a local nonprofit treasure, offers the following tips for people thinking about joining a board.

Before Saying “Yes” to Serving on a Board Chart

My friend was asked to join a board of directors. I could see that he was flattered and considering the invite. I don’t think he knew what questions to ask about serving on a board. Here’s a checklist prospective board members may want to consider

Guiding Principles and Board Values

Organizations develop guiding principles from inception. Founding leaders instill their values. Through time, culture and environmental changes, the ideals evolve.

Board of Directors HANDBOOK

Uphold the duty of care to pay attention to the organization—to monitor its activities, see that its mission is being accomplished, and guard its financial resources. · Uphold duty of loyalty to avoid conflicts of interest. · Uphold duty of obedience to carry out the purposes of the organization and to comply with the law.

Managing Collaboration Risks:

In an effort to combat dwindling budgets and vanishing resources while demand for services continues to increase, many nonprofits seek out opportunities to work together in new ways – leveraging resources, sharing strengths, increasing efficiencies and/or reducing overlap of services. Nonprofits recognize that when two or more organizations come together for a common purpose, the organizations and the clients they serve benefit. As a sector, we know that we are stronger together.

Surviving a Crisis

What’s a crisis? It’s any event or circumstance that threatens the ability of your nonprofit to achieve its mission. A crisis may be short-lived, or it may stress your nonprofit for months at a time. A crisis may be foreseeable (and therefore preventable) or unavoidable. Some nonprofits operate for decades without facing a true crisis, while others find themselves repeatedly embroiled in situations that threaten the organization’s viability. To a large extent, your vulnerability to a crisis stems from who you are and what you do. Sometimes it may be directly related to the steps you have taken to insulate your nonprofit from avoidable emergencies.

Epiphany’s Essential Leadership Coaching Guide

You’ve likely experienced a few significant shifts and challenges in your work environment as leaders and priorities collectively respond and adjust to COVID-19. Some organizations are thriving, some are sinking, and some barely noticed a difference.

Code Of Conduct

The objective of this policy is to specify how co-op members should behave within the co-op and, when engaged on co-op business, how co-op members should maintain a high standard of conduct, probity and business ethics.

Making Community PartnershipsWork: A Toolkit

This document was developed as a result of the Genetic Education Needs Evaluation (GENE) Project which was supported by grant U33 MC 00157 from the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Genetic Services Branch. Partners in the project included HRSA, March of Dimes, Michigan GENE Project, Washington Heights/Inwood GENE Coalition, Genetic Alliance and Family Voices.

A Discussion Guide for Boards

Whether it’s ending homelessness or increasing access to opera, providing atrisk youth with the opportunity to receive a strong education, or protecting global human rights. Each of us is driven by a purpose. We do what we do because we believe that some things are important enough for us to take a stand.

Distinguishing the Mission, Vision & Values Statements

Every organization has a mission statement. (The IRS requires that the statement of purpose or mission be submitted annually on Form 990, which is a public record.) Many organizations also use vision and values statements.

D0n't Just Sit There.

It's true of so many things, bur especially seminars and conferences: You get out of chem what you put into chem. To encourage attendees to make the most of your association's educational opportunities, share these 13 rips to maximize the benefits of attendance. (You'll probably even profit from the suggestions yourself)

Engaging Your Community

This Toolkit is intended to assist organizations in the adolescent pregnancy prevention and parenting field with cultivating strategic partnerships, implementing innovative outreach strategies, and developing robust communications that target the diverse organizations and populations in their communities.

Executive Leadership Guide

Ultimately you need to get a lot of work done in a way that is efficient, effective, and true to your mission and values. Good leadership centers on people and how well you engage them meaningfully. To support people, you need good processes and structures in place. You need clear plans and ways to communicate them. This guide focuses on executive leadership and good management practices so that you can lead in efficient and effective ways.

How Do I Find New Leaders?

The most common question asked by executive directors is how I find new members. Whether seeking directors for the Board, volunteers for committee or industry leaders to serve on allied boards. The critical step is to ASK. Nearly every volunteer remembers who flattered them with the question, ''Would you accept a leadership role in our organization

What Makes a Good Board Member?

While all effective board members understand and meet their basic responsibilities, truly exceptional board members do more. They go beyond the basics and pay attention to how they approach board service. These six characteristics build on straightforward board duties and focus on key traits of exceptional board members.

Leadership and Governance

Serving on a board of directors or committee is a rewarding experience. The greatness of America is enhanced by the volunteers who govern the more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations.

High Performing Boards

Governance is framed by the intent of the current board, precedents of the past (“we always did it this way”), state and federal legal requirements, established policies (disclosing conflicts, independent audits, etc.), the strategic plan, resources (staff, time, finances) and finally the governing documents (bylaws and articles.)

Hit The Ground Running

You are the incoming president. It is to be hoped that we caught you in time. The time to start planning is at least sixty days before your installation. There’s a lot to be done - from planning to appointments, this guide intends to be of help.

How to Find a Rewarding Board Position

Becoming a member of a nonprofit organization's board can be a meaningful way to explore how an individual's experience and expertise can be applied in the nonprofit sector at the governance level, and ultimately, how one's experience and expertise can help advance a nonprofit organization's social impact. It also can be a rewarding, high impact way that for-profit executives can do community service while learning new skills that can enhance their own careers.

Lessons on Leadership

Before you dive into the insightful leadership lessons contained in articles in this ebook, one clarification is in order: This round-up of articles written by Dharmesh Shah was not rounded up or conceived by Dharmesh Shah. Instead, we (the HubSpot Marketing Team) chose our favorite articles from our founder on the subject of leadership. This clarification is important so you, the reader, understand someone didn’t round up their own pearls of wisdom. Humility being one of the tenets of the HubSpot Culture Code, doing such a thing might be a contradiction, after all.

Improving the Board Experience

Meetings of the board can be dreaded or difficult to endure. Listening to reports, watching individuals promote personal agendas, a lack of focus on outcomes, and bad behavior leaves some board members wondering if it’s worth their time. (It is no wonder it’s hard to get a quorum.) How do you create a consistent pleasant leadership experience?

Impact of Transparency

“There’s an association for that,” is often heard. Most of them represent professions, trades, communities or causes. An NGO (non-governmental organization) deserving our respect is the Lebanese Transparency Association (LTA).

Increase the Leadership Flow

Think of leadership development as a pipeline in which interested volunteers enter and knowledgeable leaders exit. To increase the pipeline output, you create funnels (initiatives) to encourage leadership. Broaden the pipe so that an ample number of volunteers enter the stream.

Priorities and Practices in Cooperatives

A study of this kind would not have been possible without the support and cooperation of many individuals and institutions. Our gratitude goes to Mrs. Monique F. Leroux, President of the International Summit of Cooperatives, Mr. Stéphane Bertrand, Executive Director of the Summit, and all the Summit teams for their financial and operational support.

Instilling a Corporate Culture

Corporate culture can be described as the beliefs and behaviors that determine how volunteers and staff interact and handle decisions. Some nonprofit boards refute the idea of corporate culture.

Leadership Training Manual for Women Leaders of Cooperatives

While enumerating the basic principles and implementation guidelines, the Agenda gives top priority to promoting gender equality in all programme operations. This is critical to realizing the principle of democratic member participation, which forms the very foundation for cooperative functioning. The ICA Statement of Cooperative Identity (1995), and the new ILO Recommendation for Promotion of Cooperatives (2002), seek to promote “the fullest participation in economic and social development of all people.”

Board of Directors Handbook

Thank you for your commitment to serve on the NEHA Board of Directors. To promote a successful transition to our board, we are providing various resources for your review and encourage you to be proactive and inquisitive in fully understanding your role as a director.

Comparing Nonprofit and Cooperative Entities

These questions may come up when groups are looking at start-up financing. Grants and donations might be considered as a source of low or no-risk seed capital, and an entity must have a nonprofit tax-exempt status to be eligible. Future tax liabilities of the new organization also may be a concern.

Not your Father’s Oldsmobile

“It’s not your father’s Oldsmobile” is an advertising slogan from 1980s. Its purpose was to communicate that the company’s vehicles had improved considerably from their perceived image.

Notes For The Field Trainer

The manual provides guidelines as to how to plan and carry out training activities. It discusses methods for assessing training needs and systems for organising training in the field, with particular emphasis on the use of "MATCOM Learning Elements" - special self-study booklets for staff and committee members of agricultural co-operatives.

One Voice and Messaging by the Board

Remember the game of whispering a message down a line of people? Inevitably the original message morphed into something different or wrong when it reached the final person. Postboard meeting reports often experience similar communication confusion.

Operations and Governance

Chapters and components are often the front-line at serving members, developing leaders and advancing a mission. While resources may be limited, every organization should strive for highly effective governance and management. This requires an understanding of operations, governance, risk management and legal requirements.

Nonprofit Leadership and Organizational Excellence Assessment Tool

While the Executive Director leads in the completion of the tool, having staff/board members/volunteers contribute their input by completing the tool will broaden the scope of the data collected and increase ownership in the findings and the subsequent improvement process.

Keeping Past Presidents Engaged

Volunteers who serve as the chief board officer (a.k.a. president or chair) may find it difficult to the transition out of the office. Though they may jokingly count down the weeks until the term ends, it is tough to move from the person in charge to a position often described as “has-been.”

Power Retreats

Organizations plan an annual retreat to empower the board of directors with information and inspiration. The meeting is designed to transfer information to the leadership. The schedule often includes time for recreational activities or team building.

Rx for Organizational Health

Most visits to a health care professional result in a prescription. It is the advice offered verbally (“take two aspirin and get some rest”) or written on a pad to be filled at the pharmacy. The intent is to improve one’s health.

Problem Boards or Board Problem?

The past twenty years have seen the steady growth of training programs, consulting practices, academic research, and guidebooks aimed at improving the performance of nonprofit boards. This development reflects both hopes and doubts about the nonprofit board. On the one hand, boards are touted as a decisive force for ensuring the accountability of nonprofit organizations.

Prospecting and Objection Handling

Objections are when buyers push back on what you are offering in the moment. While handling these concerns can be frustrating, especially when the majority of your conversation is not held in person. In reality however, objections are an opportunity for progress towards a mutual agreement. Any time your prospect raises a concern is a chance for you to establish and cement credibility with them. The more credibility you can create quickly, the further along you will be towards winning the deal.

Key Questions To Ask

Serving on a board can be a rewarding experience, but is also time-intensive and demanding. Before joining a board, ask yourself the following questions to ensure that board service is right for you. If you are appointing new board members, be certain that you do not have any hesitations about your prospective board members’ answers to the questions below.


To succeed in an increasingly diverse world, nonprofit organizations need to remain relevant and connected to the communities they serve. Their leaders — board members and chief executives — need to represent diverse points of views. To what extent is this happening?

Leadership “Rules of Engagement”

The responsibilities of volunteer leaders are generally stated in the governing documents: bylaws, articles of incorporation and policies. The rules of engagement have been developed to communicate cultural expectations and preferred behavior for governance.

Say Yes to Leadership

I met a young women in the Middle East who volunteered as a trainer for her professional association. We discussed the goals of the association and she asked what I thought of the mission and vision statements.

Schedule of Authority

To provide a tool to help volunteers and staff understand processes and associated authority (i.e. policy, bylaws, local, state and federal laws, precedents, contracts, etc.) for taking action in an orderly manner. The schedule is likely to be reviewed and updated annually --- and provided at board orientation.

Strengthening Ethics

Cooperatives as distinct forms of business rely upon members to work together towards collective goals. Trust lies at the heart of cooperation and provides the basis for communication that is essential for members to seek mutual benefit. Ethics provides the foundation for trust that must be present for cooperation to occur. This report explains why ethics is important to the success of cooperatives and what boards of directors and managers can do to strengthen it.

More than a Pop Band

Nonprofit organizations have common elements. For example, the needs of members and stakeholders must interface with the mission, which should align with committees. Other elements include goals, strategies and performance measures, for instance.

Talking with New Directors

There is a difference between governance (the board’s role) and management (the staff’s responsibility). Directors are responsible for governance including policy setting, long range vision, protecting assets and fiduciary duties. Unfortunately, some directors may “slip” into management interests, though it is neither their role nor responsibility.

Directors Wear Many Hats

This director had a bad assumption about governance. She was obsessed with the problems of her chapter rather than a shared focus on advancing the mission and goals of the state association.

Leadership From the Bottom Up

Leadership is all about having your own story and being true to it. Leadership is more then just telling a story it is being the story.

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