No matter what a project or organization deals with, an advisory board is important because they help make decisions, choose the direction of the organization, and keep the organization on track for the future. Therefore, understanding the duties of an advisory board is an important way to understand the capabilities of the organization itself.
An advisory board is made up of anywhere from 3 to 12 people, and perhaps more, depending on the size of the organization. The number of members is usually decided by the number in the group. For instance, a small group of less than 25 people might have an advisory board of 3 people. Larger groups might need more members. Many times, the advisory board is made up of either members of the group (in situations where the group is small) or past members (in larger groups). In some situations, advisory board members might be people who are not affiliated with the group. This is for situations like campus student groups, in which there might be a board made up of professors and other people who have an interest in the group but are not members of the group. In many situations, advisory boards are made up of current group members, past group members, and people who have an interest in the group but are not part of it. The reason that the advisory board members are so diverse is that this allows them to have a broader view when it comes to the group and where the group fits into the society in general.
No matter how many people are on the advisory board, or what their affiliation to the group is, the advisory board will meet several times a year, depending on the schedule of the group and how active they are. During meetings, the advisory board will discuss the various things that the group is doing, and often will vote on important matters pertaining to the group. For instance, with campus or student groups, the advisory board will have the final say on what activities they do, how much money the spend, and what projects they'll be involved in, so during meetings these things will be voted on. The business of the advisory board depends on how much control they have over the group. When the advisory board is in control of the monetary issues of the group, they will have much more to than if they are simply there to make suggestions.
Duties of advisory boards different greatly from one situation to another. Some advisory boards, like those that are set for student groups on campus, have ultimate control over how money is allocated for the group, and therefore will be in charge of making the final call when it comes to those decisions. Groups that have a lot of control over the organization will need to decide how budgets are spent, make the final call on projects the group undertakes, and even make decisions for how the group should proceed. If an advisory board is used for suggestion – for groups such as business groups or charities, they are often made up of people who care about the group and want it to do well. These advisory boards often have duties like listening to the group and advising them about the decisions they have to make.
Because advisory boards are so vastly different depending on what they are meant for, there are several things to consider when looking at their duties. If your organization has an advisory board as a way to have input and research from the community or from concerned persons, then they might not be responsible for making final decisions. However, if your organization has an advisory board that is dictated as decision makers, they will have final say when it comes to budgets and to projects the group undertakes. Therefore, the key to understanding the duties of an advisory board is understanding what they are meant to do.
No matter whether an advisory board is only there for advice, or whether it is meant to make decisions, the benefits are huge. First of all, having people take a look at your organization and what it is doing is an important way of making sure that good decisions are made. Having people step aside from your organization and discuss how it should be run will remove any problems that might occur with the running of it.