Top Six Board Responsibilities
For most clubs, leadership roles will be outlined in the Bylaws. Bylaws, unfortunately, don’t always provide detailed duties for the board, officers and directors. In addition to our Legal Responsibilities for Club Leaders, the following outlines recommended responsibilities that should be in bylaws or supporting policies:
Officer & Director Roles and Responsibilities
Running clubs that do not have paid staff lean heavily on their board president to lead both the board of directors and the organization. That noted, the president should not be tasked with nor take on all of the duties and responsibilities of the board and the organization.
The ability to delegate and be a team leader is a critical quality for a board president.
- Provides leadership to the Board by serving as the chairperson of the Board and point of contact for board members.
- Serves as the primary liaison with staff (if there are any).
- Leads the Board and ensures their involvement in carrying out the governance functions and duties outlined in Board Responsibilities (see above).
- Presides over and leads productive board meetings by creating a purposeful agenda in collaboration with the Board.
- Engages each board member equally in deliberations.
- Assigns committee chairs and committee members, with board approval.
- Serves as a point person for receiving Code of Conduct complaints.
In the absence of the President, or in the event of the President’s refusal to act, the Vice President performs the duties of the President, and when so acting, has all the powers of and is subject to all restrictions of the President.
The ability to be a team player and support the efforts of the President is a critical quality for a Vice President.
The treasurer is responsible for keeping full and accurate accounts of all income (receipts) and expenses (disbursements or checks). If an organization has paid staff, this function may be delegated, or an organization may outsource this function to a paid bookkeeper. Review our detailed page about Managing Club Finances.
A detail oriented person with good record keeping skills are critical qualities for a treasurer. Being an accountant or CPA is a plus, but people with experience in financial management make great treasurers.
- Ensures that finances are managed according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for nonprofits.
- Ensures funds are secured, deposited, invested, spent and reported according to the Board’s policies and procedures.
- Ensures compliance related to tax and other required filings.
- Ensures the Board and associated committees receive training and orientation regarding the financial management of the organization.
- Ensures the Board fulfills its fiduciary and oversight duties by reviewing the financial statements several times a year.
- Ensures policies and procedures are in place to prevent fraud and theft.
- Serves as Chair of the Finance Committee (recommended for larger organizations) and appoints members to the Finance Committee, with board approval.
- Supports the work of staff and independent professionals (paid bookkeeper) tasked with day-to-day management of the finances
- Ensures the Board fulfills its fiduciary and oversight duties.
- Liaises with RRCA for renewing the club membership.
A treasurer that refuses to share detailed financial information regularly, or upon request by a board member, presents a red flag that should be discussed at a board meeting.
Often times the duties of the Secretary are often overlooked or undervalued on a board. The Secretary plays a critical role in compliance with corporate record keeping.
A detail oriented person with good record keeping skills are critical qualities for a secretary.
- Records the minutes of all board and membership meetings.
- Ensures the records, policies, and procedures of the organization are appropriately maintained and made available to members.
- Leads the Board approved election and voting process and verifies the vote count at the Annual Meeting of the Membership.
Promoting a club, along with recruiting new members, and engaging members in programs and events, can be a significant responsibility. Smaller club may combine these roles, while larger clubs may divide the duties between two or more people.
An outgoing, people person that champions your organization is a good candidate for this role.
The Membership and Marketing Director:
- Chairs committees tasked with specific functions related to membership and marketing: website, social media, social events, etc.
- Ensures an easy to access membership system integrated with the club’s website.
- Works with 3rd party vendors for: website, membership management system, etc.
- Oversees club’s social media accounts and works to maintain social media policies.
- Works with treasurer to monitor the membership system and incoming dues.
- Works with Program director to promote programs, training runs, events, etc.
- Encourages a brand standard and image for the club.
A word about webmasters, while this role is of great importance, it is not appropriate for the webmaster to be a board position. The webmaster should report to the board and serve on a marketing/communications committee, especially if this person is paid a fee for services.
At the heart of a club are the programs it offers to members including: regular group runs, organized training programs, education sessions, youth programs, and more. A program director should not be expected to lead all of the program activities. They should engage members by volunteering to lead and assist with a variety of program functions.
An outgoing, team leader that can recruit volunteers is a good candidate for this role.
The Program Director:
- Chairs committees tasked with specific functions related to programs: group run locations, water stops, organized training programs, youth programs, education sessions, etc.
- Coordinates with the Membership & Marketing Director to recruit volunteers and promote programs.
- Coordinates with the Treasurer on any associated program fees assessed on top of membership.
- Oversees a volunteer coordinator or serves in this role for the club.
- Educates group run leaders about Guidelines for Leading Group Runs.
- Liaises with RRCA for Coaching Certification course hosting and implementing a Kids Run the Nation program.
Sometimes clubs include a race director on their board. This is fine, so long as the position is a volunteer role. Issues with profiting from board service can arise when a paid race director is also a board member.
RRCA recommends against putting a race director on your board if they are paid a fee for service for directing club-owned events.
The Race Director:
- Serves as a volunteer tasked with overseeing the conduct of all club-owned events.
- Chairs committees or appoints committees and race directors to conduct club-owned events.
- Liaises with all volunteer and paid race directors tasked with conducting club-owned events and reports activities to the board.
- Recommends and leads a competitive bidding process when hiring paid race directors.
- Liaises with the Treasurer for monitoring and reporting event income and expenses to the board.
- Liaises with the Marketing Director to promote club-owned event.
- Liaises with Program Director to develop training programs targeting club-owned events.
At-Larger or General Directors have a duty to ensure the Board as a whole are following the Bylaws, the six responsibilities outlined above, and help ensure the other officers and directors are meeting the obligations of their roles.
The At-Large Director:
- Makes time to serve on committees as requested.
- Volunteers to lead activities in support of the Program Director, Membership Director, and Race Director.
Smooth Leadership Transitions
At a certain point each year, one or more new members of a club’s board are appointed, elected or installed, most without exactly knowing their role and responsibilities. To ensure continuity in club operations the following tips can ensure smooth leadership transitions for a club:
Smooth Leadership Transition for the President/Chair
Ideally, a new president has already been a member of the board and is up to speed with many aspects of the organization. There are several key items that the incoming president should address. The following is a checklist to help incoming presidents manage the leadership transition process:
Sometimes leadership transitions can mean a loss of institutional knowledge. New board leaders should ensure they have copies of important documents. If the outgoing leadership does not supply these documents, check with the RRCA first. Chances are the Bylaws are on file with the RRCA, and we can send you a copy of the RRCA’s IRS determination letter.
If the RRCA does not have a copy of your bylaws, the organization’s bank may have a copy on file. If you can’t find any bylaws, that is an indication your club is in need of drafting and approving new bylaws for the club.
>>See RRCA sample club bylaws .
It is important that the president or chairperson of the board does not allow too much time to pass between the date of the election and the first meeting. The first meeting is a good time to have a discussion on expectations of:
- How meetings will be run,
- How discussions and disagreements will be managed, and
- Other items that will help establish the expectations of the president and the board as a whole.
Each board member should be supplied with a board handbook. Schedule future board meetings during this meeting and encourage attendance.
Reaching out to members of the club as soon as possible is an important step in keeping the members engaged.
The first outreach effort can be a simple email or social media posting thanking members for electing you into the position. This is a great opportunity to put out a call for volunteers. Then continue to engage with the members by sharing regular reports, emails, social media posts on behalf of the board.
Work with the board to appoint or re-appoint people to committees or important volunteer positions in the club, such as:
- Membership manager,
- Volunteer coordinator,
- Race directors,
- Social chair, etc.
Unless otherwise stipulated in the club’s bylaws, Robert’s Rules of Order outlines that committees dissolve and should be reappoint annually with each new election cycle of a board of directors to avoid any confusion about committee appointment terms.
Begin preparing the next year’s budget. Work with the board to outline the status of current programs and events, and outline plans or objectives for new projects/programs and events.
Adopt a strategic plan or review the plan if one exists. Update it as needed.