- All members are entitled to information about how the Board or Committee is running the organisation.
- Providing information to the membership proactively is a great way to go.
- There are a number of ways of doing this.
Boards and Committees must stay in touch with the current thoughts and feelings of the membership.
All members are entitled to know how the organisation is being run, to ask questions and have them answered by the Board. Even better is when the Board or Committee pre-empts the questions and provides members with information when and how they want it.
There are a few ways to proactively engage with members to share information and get input and feedback about the organisation’s direction. One way is through the Annual General Meeting – where information is shared about the activities undertaken over the last year, financial information is provided, members can query and ask about governance questions, and elections are held.
Informal or more regular channels throughout the year are another great way to consider sharing information to more frequently communicate with members (such as through newsletters, website updates, and updates at events). Some organisations also undertake member surveys periodically, to explore the issues that are important to them and help bring the broader perspective of members into the organisation’s planning and direction.
Find opportunities to communicate regularly with members, not just at the Annual General Meeting. Consider a member survey each year, but be prepared to put the work in to boost response numbers
Want more? ... check out these resources
Factsheet - Institute of Community Directors - 5 minute read
This one is a help sheet from the Institute of Community Directors covering actions to take to be an accountable and consultative board.
Online article - Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission - 10 minute read
Here’s the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission's Governance Standards 2 - Accountability to Members that only applies to charities with members, but has a framework that other organisations could consider adapting.
Article – Institute of Company Directors - 8 minute read
There is a lot of useful detail here in this article from the Australian Institute of Company Directors about transparency and accountability in not-for-profit organisations and some questions for Directors to consider.