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A good orientation informs board members about the League, acquaints them with one another, and builds a sense of total board responsibility. New board members gain confidence in carrying out their responsibilities and learn policies and procedures expected of board members. It is a time for the board to begin to build their team as they get to know each other better. Local League boards may conduct their own orientation sessions, call on seasoned local League leaders to facilitate, request state League assistance, or in some states, participate in sessions planned on a regular schedule. Similarly, a state board can ask the national board for facilitator assistance. Alternatively, some Leagues hire consultants to present leadership development sessions or to facilitate discussions to restructure their boards or set priorities during board training or retreats.
Whatever the design, the board's basic orientation session should be scheduled as soon as possible after the new board is elected. Plan to have some social time and set an agenda that will include:
This is the time to review such details as how to prepare information for the Voter, board briefings and reports, the League's budget, what expenses are reimbursed, deadlines for the state and national Leagues, etc.
The League’s president also should make sure that outgoing board members have passed on files and materials needed for continuity of responsibilities. It is also helpful if the outgoing board member can meet with the incoming board member to provide some background, suggestions, and ideas for the position.
In addition to the overall board orientation session, it is advisable for the president to hold a brief extra session with new board members to cover a few essentials already familiar to continuing board members, such as who speaks for the League and the president's role in approving internal and external communications.
LOCAL BOARD ORIENTATION
A) Total Board Responsibility:
Makes the League’s decisions and organizes its activities with the entire board. The authority for the whole League operation rests with the board, whose members meet together make decisions. Board members may have specific duties, but each also shares in the responsibility of the entire board for the League’s operation. Each board member, for example, has a fiduciary responsibility for the organization, although the development chair or committee may have the day-to-day job of raising money. Because of this group responsibility, board members are expected to attend board meetings regularly, give thoughtful consideration to all aspects of League work, join in board deliberations and take part in making the general plans for League activities.
B) General Responsibilities:
C) Specific Responsibilities:
D) Best Practices:
League of Women Voters of the US May 2013