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Course Overview

The role of board Chairperson is an honorary role. There is no legal requirement under the Charities Act or the Companies Act for a board or committee to appoint a board Chairperson. However, Boards should be mindful of obligations contained in their organisation’s constitution and obligations under any other legislation or regulation their organisation may be subject to.  Appointing a board Chairperson makes good, practical sense if the work of a non-profit board is to be progressed satisfactorily. Upon appointment, a Chairperson takes on particular duties and responsibilities appropriate to the role. In this course, we review the role of board Chairperson.

Course Structure

The course is divided into 8 component parts and takes approx. 1 hour to review. Participants should allow for additional time to review the templates and Board Handbook which accompany the course. Topics are self-contained to facilitate micro-learning for the time conscious participant.

1. Introduction

People can be reluctant to take on the role of Chairperson, as it is often perceived to carry with it a significant workload. This should not be the case however, if a fair distribution of work is agreed by all committee or board members!

2. The Responsibilities of a Board

This lesson outlines the core functions of the board of directors and the principles of good governance.

3.  The Role of a Chairperson

The duties associated with the Chairperson’s role are outlined in this lesson.

4. Leading the Board

A leader leads from the front, but not so far in front that followers lose sight of him or her! So it is with a board chairperson. The Chair must help ensure that the board complies with governance best practice, adheres to its legal responsibilities and fairly represents the interests of members. Leading the board means helping board members to govern effectively.

5. Setting the Agenda

Agendas help Chairpersons to structure the flow of board meetings and provide opportunities for the Chairperson to bring people back on topic. Agendas help to make visible the topics that require board decisions and discussions.

6. Chairing Board Meetings

The nature and communication styles of the personalities sitting around a board table, can certainly affect a meeting. But remember that there are tools and techniques that a Chairperson can use to help facilitate a board meeting more effectively. This lesson explores this topic further.

7. Working with Senior Staff

The relationship between a non-profit’s most senior manager and its board is critical. One board member is typically delegated the responsibility for line managing the most senior staff member e.g. CEO or Project Co-ordinator. The Chairperson of a board is usually delegated such a responsibility.

8. Succession Planning

Each board needs to rejuvenate and stay energised, if it is to provide effective leadership on an ongoing basis. Therefore, the chairperson (working with board members and senior staff) should actively seek nominations and expressions of interest from potential board members.

Upon successfully completing the course, participants may download free of charge a course Certificate of Completion.

Commence the Course & General Instructions

  1. Please progress through each of the lessons in the course sequentially.
  2. To move from one lesson page to another, click on the ‘Mark Complete’ button located at the end of each lesson page. Once you have clicked the ‘Mark Complete’ button, you may then progress to the next lesson in the course.
  3. Some lesson pages contain interactive resources. To open an interactive resource, click the orange ‘Launch’ button contained on the web page. Click on the ‘Next’ buttons or arrows within each interactive resource to move from one screen to the next within each of these resources.
  4. Document names in red within a lesson or topic page denote that the document is available to download. Just click on the document name (in blue) to open it for viewing and download.

To start the course, click on the lesson 1 heading in the table below.