What’s The Board Up To?
Each month (or quarter), the Board of Directors from thousands of youth sports organizations gather to review recent activity and to chart a path forward.
You probably know one or more members of your organization’s Board. In fact, you might be on the board! But is that board accountable? What’s happening each month? Are members able to easily keep track of Board events? You might be surprised at the result.
General Board Protocol
As a general rule, a Secretary is part of a Board of Directors. Their primary job? Keep a log of (and hopefully publishing) activities at the meeting – the minutes.
Boards (and their respective organizations) are goverened by a Constitution and Bylaws. Among other things, these documents dictate the job responsibilities of each board member and how membership should be informed of meetings and ongoing procedural news in the organization.
State Association Board Minutes
To sample, I reviewed the websites of the 15 youth soccer state associations in the northeast (also called Region I). They register hundreds of thousands of players each year with US Youth Soccer and some register over a hundred thousand by themselves.
Before reviewing, I anticipated that most would publish their minutes (or a summary) online – they need to be accountable to a large number of members and need to set an example for member organizations, among other reasons.
After review, nine do not post their monthly board meeting minutes (or a summary) on their website. The remaining six do, but one consistently mentioned written reports which were not included. Overall, only 1/3 of these youth soccer state associations have actionable information available.
How can this happen?
Update the Constitution
In some cases, the Constitution for some state associations dictates that meeting minutes are to be sent to members … by mail. I was unable to verify whether anything is sent following meetings, but updating these policies seems overdue from a cost savings and efficiency stand point.
In the case of some state association that don’t post minutes, there is no reporting protocol at all. Very surprising.
Takeaways For Your Organization
At the very least, post a meeting summary on your website. The meeting minutes themselves might not be totally useful to members and may, from time to time, include sensitive information about competitors, contract bids, or otherwise that should not be published immediately following the meeting.
In addition, a summary offers a chance to provide more information on a board decision than is sometimes available in the minutes. If a controversial ruling happens, a summary allows you to explain the rationale for the decision.
As a general rule, be accountable to your members. Take time to carefully consider your options as far as what to publish, but definitely keep your members informed of what’s happening on a month-to-month basis!