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Board Governance 


When working as a rescue group, having an effective leadership team is very important to starting, running, and working as a community organization. A rescue group will need a board of directors, made up of individuals with a commitment to helping animals in need. Board members can be appointed or elected; they can double as staff or volunteers as well. 


Board members are responsible for a variety of tasks, including:  


  • developing long-term plans, 

  • appointing an executive director, 

  • signing agreements on behalf of the organization, 

  • approving budgets, 

  • developing policies, and 

  • providing overall leadership for the organization. 


A board must consist of a President or Chair, a Secretary, and a Treasurer; however, there can be additional members or members with other specialized roles as well. The executive director is accountable to the board and serves as the bridge between the board, the staff, and volunteers. 


  • President or Chair – Chairs all meetings of the board, resolves disputes, and shows strong  leadership in the organization.

  • Secretary – Communicates board messages and minutes to the members or stakeholders, schedules meetings, and is responsible for recordkeeping. 

  • Treasurer – Plans and prepares budgets, monitors spending of the organization, and prepares any financial reports as needed.


Some additional things to consider:


  • Should there be term limits for board members?

  • Will it be useful to have non-voting board members simply to advise?

  • Are family members going to be allowed on the board?

  • Is a conflict of interest statement required?


For more information, please consult the HSUS/PetSmart Charities Rescue Group Best Practices Guide at:

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