What are the governance bodies of an association and how do they operate?

Business associations generally have several types of governance bodies in order to manage and organise the work of the association through the participation of its members. In associations, both at national and international level, there are three main bodies:

General Assembly

This is the sovereign body of the organisation, as any decision taken is binding on all members. It is made up of all the members of the association, up to date with their dues, where each one of them is free to express their opinion, make suggestions, vote or protest. In other words, they have a voice and a vote.

Generally, the assembly meets once a year. At Rabuso, we try to make this meeting coincide with the annual event of the association itself in order to facilitate the attendance of the members. During this meeting, all the projects carried out during the year, the results of the association and the future projects are reviewed and explained. It also approves the previous year’s accounts and the budget for the current year.

In exceptional cases, an Extraordinary General Assembly may be called to meet at the request of the Board, the President or at the proposal of some of the members, to resolve important issues.

All meetings shall be chaired by the President of the Board, who shall be accompanied by the other members of the Board. These include the Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary General, as well as the appointed members.


Board of Directors

In the case of the Board, it is the body responsible for the governance, management and administration of the entity, as established by the Assembly.

It is made up of a President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and members. In this way, when making decisions, it is much quicker and more efficient to contact a more limited number of people than if the whole Assembly had to meet.

This body has more regular meetings, depending on each association, which may be more or less frequent. The most common is to meet between 4 and 6 times a year. In this way the Board fulfils a more executive function in order to be able to solve any event, accept new members, or take any decision necessary for the development of a project.

Each of the members of the Board has been previously elected by the General Assembly of the association, and according to the statutes the members will be renewed from time to time.


On the other hand, although it is not considered a governing body, it is necessary to explain the role of the Secretariat within an association.


The Secretariat is responsible for the day-to-day management of the association based on the guidelines set by the Assembly or the Board of Directors. It does not have any decision-making or voting power, which is why it is not considered to be an organ. It simply executes the decisions, guidelines and requests made by the members through the governing bodies.

We can find different models of secretariat:

  • Secretariat formed by a member of the association in charge of carrying out the daily tasks, rotating this responsibility among the members.
  • The secretariat staff is hired directly by the association.
  • A third external company with specialised equipment and knowledge of association management manages the secretariat activity. Outsourcing is the third model Rabuso works with, as it is a company whose business model is based on association management. In this way, there is only a contract between the association and the company, but not with its employees, as in the previous case.


All this information is included in the statutes and is signed to validate them. You can find the document for consultation on the websites of each of the associations managed by Rabuso.