The June/July 2008 issue of SKATING magazine (see right, with pairs skaters Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker on cover) had a great article (not available online) about figure skating boards and what their roles and responsibilities are. The piece was written by Susi Wehrli, the Senior Director of Membership at U.S. Figure Skating. Ms. Wehrli advised that the information is distributed at U.S. Figure Skating Club Education Seminars to assist new and existing boards to become more effective and successful.
Reprinted with permission from SKATING magazine and the U.S. Figure Skating Club Education Seminars.
Getting your board on board
by Susi Wehrli
Serving on a figure skating board is not only a huge responsibility but it is also a huge privilege. One needs to remember that he or she is an ambassador for the sport of figure skating as well as his or her local club. According to nonprofit corporation law, a board member must meet certain standards of conduct and attention to his or her responsibilities to the club. These are referred to as Duty of Care, Loyalty and Obedience. Here are the definitions:
- DUTY OF CARE means using your best judgment and that you have exercised reasonable caution in making decisions.
- DUTY OF LOYALTY means putting your personal and professional interests aside for the good of the club.
- DUTY OF OBEDIENCE means being true to the club's mission.
BASIC RESPONSIBILITIES OF SKATING BOARDS
1. Determine the club's mission and purpose. A statement of mission and purposes should articulate the club’s goals, means, and primary constituents served. It is the board's responsibility to create the mission statement and review it periodically for accuracy and validity. Each individual board member should fully understand and support it.
2. Ensure coach representation to the board. This person can either be an adviser or an actual board member.
3. Support the coaching staff as a whole and review their performance. The board should ensure that the coaches have the moral and professional support they need to further the goals of the club.
4. Ensure effective club planning. As stewards of the club, boards must actively participate with the staff in an overall planning process and assist in implementing the plan's goals.
5. Ensure adequate resources. One of the board's foremost responsibilities is to provide adequate resources for the club to fulfill its mission. The board should work club services, membership, club programs and raise funds from the community.
6. Manage resources effectively. The board, in order to remain accountable to its donors and the public, and to safeguard its tax-exempt status, must assist in developing the annual budget and ensuring that proper financial controls are in place.
7. Determine, monitor, and strengthen the club's programs and services. The board’s role in this area is to determine which programs are the most consistent with the club’s mission, and to monitor their effectiveness.
8. Enhance the club's public standing. A club's primary link to the community, including constituents, the public, and the media, is the board. Clearly articulating the club's mission, accomplishments, and goals to the public, as well as garnering support from important members of the community, are important elements of a comprehensive public relations strategy.
9. Ensure legal and ethical integrity and maintain accountability. The board is ultimately responsible for ensuring adherence to legal standards and ethical norms. Solid policies and grievance procedures will help ensure proper decorum in this area. The board must establish pertinent policies, and adhere to provisions of the club’s bylaws and articles of incorporation.
10. Recruit and orient new board members and assess board performance. All boards have a responsibility to articulate and make known their needs in terms of member experience, skills, and many other considerations that define a "balanced" board composition. Boards must also orient new members to their responsibilities and the club's history, needs, and challenges. By evaluating its performance in fulfilling its responsibilities, the board can recognize its achievements and reach consensus on which areas need to be improved.
For more information regarding Club Education programs and services, please contact Susi Wehrli at swehrli(AT)usfigureskating(DOT)org. (Please replace AT with @ and DOT with . when e-mailing Susi.)