Position Paper: Alumnae Board Members Playing a Dual Role (Local and National Roles)
As with any non-profit organizations, finding and retaining volunteers can be a difficult task. In addition, an effective organization has a path way for these great volunteers to be able to contribute and rise up the ranks of leadership. All too often, the complex question arises of “whether a volunteer can continue to serve as a local alumna for a chapter or a house corporation once they also assume a national leadership role?” There are two distinct answers to this question.
The first answer is a rejection of this dual capacity service of an alumna. The primary issue is a concern that the national officer may expose the national organization to liability for local entity’s actions, subsequently forfeiting the defense of ignorance of the local entity’s operation.
The second answer – and the one that we think more appropriately applies to the women’s organizations – is that the threat of increased liability from this dual capacity is offset by the distinct advantage that we believe comes from a national officer continuing to provide leadership to the local entity be it a chapter advisory board or a local house corporation board. We see this leadership as a positive for both the national and local entities.
Ideally the national officer should be freed up to focus on this important national position that she has been appointed or elected to do for her sorority. A new volunteer can be added to your ranks to fill the local volunteer position. If this is not possible, then there should be no hesitancy to allow the dual-capacity position of your national officer.