Membes blog: Is your Association’s Constitution holding back your technological transformation?

Association constitutions are complex and rightly so, as they outline the fundamental principles for the governance and operation of the organisation. However, these legal rules and frameworks that direct the structure, purpose, rights, responsibilities, and procedures of the association could be holding you back from on-boarding and leveraging new association management technology.

When onboarding new operational management technology, an association may need to consider making changes to its constitution to ensure alignment with the technology and to address any legal, operational, or procedural implications. Here are some potential areas that might require attention:

  • Purpose and Objectives: Review and update the association's purpose and objectives statement to reflect the integration of the new technology and its intended impact on the organisation's operations.
  • Governance Structure: Assess how the technology will effect the association's governance structure and decision-making processes. Consider whether any changes to the roles, responsibilities, or authority of the board, committees, or executive team are necessary to accommodate the technology's implementation.
  • Membership: Determine if the new technology affects membership criteria, join or renewal structure, or voting procedures. If necessary, update the constitution to reflect any changes to the membership framework resulting from the adoption of the association management system (AMS).
  • Data and Privacy: Evaluate how the technology will handle member data and ensure compliance with relevant data protection regulations. Consider incorporating clauses related to data security, privacy policies, and consent procedures into the constitution.
  • Financial Management: If the new technology impacts financial processes, such as accounting, budgeting, or payment systems, review and modify the constitution accordingly. Update provisions related to financial reporting, audits, and accountability to reflect any changes in the operational management technology.
  • Meetings and Communication: If the technology introduces new communication channels or affects the way meetings are conducted, consider amending relevant sections of the constitution. This may include provisions related to virtual meetings, remote participation, or electronic voting at your AGM.
  • Operational Procedures: Identify any operational procedures or policies that need modification due to the implementation of the technology. For example, if the technology automates certain tasks or workflows, the constitution may need to be updated to reflect these changes.
  • Training and Support: Consider adding provisions regarding training, support, and ongoing education related to the operational management of technology. This ensures members and stakeholders are adequately informed and prepared to utilise technology effectively.
  • Amendment Process: Lastly, review the amendment process outlined in the constitution itself. Flexibility to make future changes or updates as the association’s technology needs evolve over time is essential.

It is important to consult legal professionals or experts familiar with your association's jurisdiction and specific circumstances to ensure any changes made to the constitution comply with applicable laws and regulations.

So, what are you waiting for – schedule the next review of your constitution so you are able to embrace digital technologies as they’re released to create a more efficient and member-centric association.

By Membes | 10 July 2023