As the RESULTS Australia Board meets this weekend we invited Chris Franks, Board Chair to talk to us about the role of the Board.
Who gets to be a director or chair of an organisation like RESULTS is something I am often asked so I thought I would share the answer to that and a couple of other common questions with you too.
Directors are people just like you – women and men, young and old, from all sorts of backgrounds all with a passion to volunteer and do their bit to support organisations. To be a director you need to enjoy working on policies and procedures, looking at organisation plans and volunteering in the field of the organisation – which at RESULTS is advocacy. You need a broad background so you can make a contribution to discussion and decision making, along with a willingness to invest time over a number of years.
My background is research, fundraising, management. I’ve been a company director for 18 years. I’ve also been a volunteer for over 35 years with organisations including with Oxfam, Save the Children, Heart Foundation and Habitat for Humanity.
I joined RESULTS because I knew of its excellent work and reputation and that of the CEO. Maree Nutt, RESULTS CEO asked if I could help reinvigorate the Board after the previous Chair left. I started off by looking to see how I could help and to let Maree and the other directors check me out too. Once satisfied that I could help I became a member and was elected at the AGM by Members in 2015
The second question I often get asked is what does a board do? Most people don’t ever come into contact with boards and what they know comes from the Mary Poppins movie with old crusty men who are crabby and mean! I promise you, no board I have worked with looks like that.
A board actually represents the interests of Members and the people whose well-being we promote who, in our case, because they are overseas and cannot have a direct say in what we do. Our activities are prescribed by the RESULTS Constitution and a number of workplace and financial laws. We ensure the staff, resources and finances of RESULTS are managed properly and our legal obligations are shipshape. We also help put a plan in place that’s focused on achieving our vision and mission. When needed we also hire or replace the CEO and ensure they can do the job well.
How do you get to be a board member is the next favourite question? That’s an easy one. We are interested in RESULTS and want to see it succeed so we volunteer for the board and are elected by Members. Members are eligible to vote for the Board and to attend the Annual General Meeting where the annual financial reports are presented so Members can ensure the Board is doing its job properly.
The board’s current main focus is on our income and how to bring in new supporters and volunteers. Currently RESULTS is lucky to have a 3-year grant from overseas to fund our activity but should that grant disappear we need to be ready to sustain our income from other sources. We are now working to build more income from individuals, companies and other organisations. We don’t accept government grants as we want to be independent and we carefully vet our partner organisations to ensure they share our values.
If you still with me so far then being a director may just be something you would enjoy. You can read the RESULTS constitution here www.results.org.au and learn about the responsibilities and role of directors here www.companydirectors.com.au If you would like to become a member then read about it here www.results.org.au
Please send me any questions via the office and I can write more next time.
Board Chair, RESULTS International Australia