Roles and responsibilities
Last, but certainly not least, we should consider the very important roles and responsibilities of a sports organisation’s members and consider their relationship to the organisation and the board.
In companies limited by guarantee, the rights of members attach solely to the members, as no shares exist. The rights and powers of members are set out in the organisation’s articles, including voting rights. Legislation in respect of shareholders and their additional rights (for example, the rights to a dividend) does not apply to sports bodies where there are no shareholders.
Relationship between the organisation and its members
In this area sport can claim a sense of uniqueness as, for a membership NGB, members can also be defined by many other roles including volunteers (clubs and regions), directors of the board, coaches and officials, tutors and participants. In all cases, they are also customers who are in receipt of products and services developed by the NGB including competition opportunities, leadership development and coach development. The nature of the relationship is much more than a transactional one – whereby an individual pays a fee and receives a service – as so many members contribute to the delivery of such services in their different capacities. As a result, a sports organisation seeks to maintain a deeper, connected relationship with its members. This is most visible in consultation and decision-making systems, where members are engaged from grassroots to board level via councils, committees and other structures.
Relationship between the board and members
and Governance and Leadership Framework highlight the benefits of engaging directly with stakeholders, especially members – many of whom are volunteers. The Principles of Good Governance, under Principle 7: Engaging with the Sport and Recreation Sector, lists the following practical steps organisations can take:
- The board should understand the unique role of volunteers and must strive to appreciate and encourage appropriate ways to involve them.
- The board should ensure that the views and opinions of stakeholders are considered and discussed at board meetings where relevant.
- The board should use their annual general meeting or general meetings as a useful means to develop a dialogue with members and other stakeholders.
Your members have certain rights as well, in relation to information and your obligations to them.
Rights of members
The principal right