Freedom to Associate, as defined by Wikipedia,
encompasses both an individual’s right to join or leave groups voluntarily, the right of the group to take collective action to pursue the interests of its members, and the right of an association to accept or decline membership based on certain criteria.
Very few countries have the public policies similar to those that support a network of 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the USA and their freedom to associate.
We are fortunate to benefit from the First Amendment to the US Constitution in 1791 affording the rights to association: Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of Speech and the Right to Petition of Government.
Each of the 1.5 million nonprofits has at two things in common. A noble cause expressed as a mission statement and a volunteer board of directors. These two elements are the essential ingredients in any successful nonprofit coupled by the efforts of the staff team that executes the strategic plan set forth by the governing body.
For the best board experience, an annual orientation is important. Click on this link for the PowerPoint – Board Orientation Powerpoint Final (click here).
Bill Pawlucy, MPA, CAE, IOM, is founder of Association Options, Inc. a company that focuses on practical strategic planning (corporate and nonprofit), management assessments, Baldrige Award process implementation, AMC search and evaluation, facilitation, and governance modeling. He is also the executive director of the International Association of Interviewers and is an appointee to the U.S. Department of Commerce Board of Examiners for the Baldrige Presidential Award.