Posted in Governance

BACon BLOG - Wasting Your Resources On Association GovernanceYou only have so many resources at your association. Why are you wasting them on association governance?

Associations are becoming more and more concerned about the significant amount of resources that are dedicated to the governance of their association. These resources include association dollars, association staff time and association volunteer time.

  • Association dollars. Millions of dollars are spent every year by some associations on their governance. Inefficient and ineffective governance structures and processes are wasting huge amounts of money that could be refocused on achieving your strategic plan and meeting the needs of your members. Monies that could be going to communication initiatives, new education programs for your members, or advancing your government affairs objectives are instead being poured into the association governance hole.
  • Association staff time. Thousands of hours of association staff time each year are spent on preparing, facilitating and following up on board meetings and other board activities or directed towards managing an association’s house of delegates or overly large committee system. Large numbers of staff, including all members of the senior staff, are consumed with board meeting preparation in the weeks before a board meeting. And days are spent afterwards addressing the various tasks and issues emanating from the board meeting. Just think what your association staff could accomplish if you gave them back two months out of the year.
  • Association volunteer time. And having your association member volunteers filling positions in a bloated governance system is a waste of their time. Your volunteers want to be involved in association work that is advancing the association’s goals while giving them an opportunity to play a leadership role and contribute to their association. Giving them work in an overly complicated and burdensome governance process is a slap in the face.

So trim your governance. Make it as simple and transparent as possible. Make it as effective and efficient as possible. And stop wasting your limited association resources on association governance.

John Barnes is President of Barnes Association Consultants. Barnes Association Consultants helps association Boards and CEOs address the wide range of challenges and opportunities facing today’s association leaders. Barnes Association Consultants helps association leaders make their associations better. 

John can be reached at or 703.321.6866. For more information about Barnes Association Consultants, go to