Galvin and Associates

Clarify expectations



Along with the job description, any other expectations should be written in a code of conduct document or included in the board policy manual. Expectations can spell out inappropriate behavior to be avoided in board meetings, keeping information and opinions confidential, who to notify if not able to attend a board meeting, attendance at special events, and their role in fundraising.

Rightful use of authority should also be made clear. Bob Andringa has written about the four hats board members may wear. The governance hat is worn when the board formally gathers for a meeting and a quorum is present. The authority of the board is held by the board as a group, not by individual board members. When the board meeting is over, the governance hat stays in the board room. The implementor hat is worn when one or more individuals is given work to do for the board. The authority for them to act is specifically given to them by the board. For example, a board member may be asked to negotiate a price for purchasing land or a building. When the task is complete the authority returns to the board as a group. The participant hat is worn when board members are asked to attend a special event. In this case, they are officially representing the board. The volunteer hat is worn any other time board members encounter the organization. They have no governing authority or responsibility apart from the board as a group. When they serve as a volunteer in the work, they report to a staff person and work under their authority.

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