Lonely advocates working together (Latin America)
Latin America and the Caribbean are home to 35 nations and some 550 million people, although there has been little historical support, either culturally or from healthcare systems in the region, for the development of palliative care as a medical specialty. Palliative care advocates have often worked alone, without much support from compatriots or national associations. The Latin American Palliative Care Association (Asociacion Latinoamericana de Cuidados Paliativos, ALCP) emerged as a regional umbrella organisation to further national association development.
Starting in 1990, a few individuals from across Latin America began to meet every two years in different locations. “In our region, the biggest problem is the lack of resources,” which has limited how often palliative care advocates could meet in person, explains Argentina’s Dr. Roberto Wenk. These advocates performed association-building tasks by email and telephone and through the biannual congresses. “At our meetings, we get enthusiastic about the work of association-building and palliative care-related projects, but when we return home to other job demands, our promises prove hard to deliver.”
ALCP as a regional association was incorporated in a 2001 meeting in Buenos Aires, using the model of the Argentinean palliative care association, which is the most developed national group in the region. Today, 14 national associations participate in ALCP, while individual memberships in the regional association have grown to 60. Dr. Wenk says the regional association and its national association members are similar in terms of their mission, goals and roles — all aimed ultimately at promoting the growth of palliative care. Recent successes for ALCP include launching a website with a regional database to identify palliative care providers and services, educational resources, and sub-sites aimed at increasing and optimising palliative care research and psycho-oncology. One of the ongoing challenges is to make sure that educational materials and other resources on the ALPC website are offered in Portuguese as well as Spanish.
This document introduces the different legal forms that your national association might adopt. This information is inevitably quite general as the laws determining legal structures and status vary considerably between different countries. It describes some common legal structures, but these are not universal and their names and powers are likely to vary in your country. You can use the descriptions and questions in this section to help inform and guide your thinking, but you should then approach an experienced constitutional or corporate lawyer to help you prepare the formal legal documents that are suitable for an association in your country.
Guide for Writing Policies, Procedures and Protocols
This document from Help the Hospices, UK, offers guidance for writing policies, procedures and protocols for your association.
There are many ways to form associations, and some take the less traditional path to forming an organisation. This link explains how an association in Ghana was formed through a co-op.
Role of the Board
The most important job of the board is to lead the association. Without clear and effective leadership, the association will sooner or later lose its way. Leading an association means making sure that there is a clear vision of the type of services and care the association wants to provide and motivating all to achieve that vision.
The board is primarily concerned with direction, policy and strategy. The day-to-day management of the association is delegated to the paid professional staff, who report progress back to the board.
This section outlines the primary responsibilities of the board and how they relate to the activities of your organisation.
Role and responsibilities of trustees
This section outlines the main responsibilities and duties of trustees, so that they can know what they are undertaking without becoming unnecessarily nervous about the role.
Trustee role description
Including principal responsibilities.
Review of trustee role
Including questions for self-assessment and review.
This section discusses the relative roles of the governance and management, how duties can be divided and ways to develop an effective relationship between the association’s chief executive and board chair.
Role description for the chair
Including getting the board to work well, making sure the executive is effective, and acting as an ambassador for the association.
Scheme of reservation and delegation
Illustrating powers reserved for the board or delegated to the executive.
Role description for a vice president
An actual job description from NHPCO.
Role description for a president
Also from NHPCO.
The purpose and role of board-appointed committees and advisory groups need to be clear and distinct. There are three main types of group set up by charities: Committees of the Board, Working Groups of the Board and Advisory Groups. This section describes the role of committees and how they can work to better your organisation.
Checklist for setting up a committee
Example: Terms of reference for a committee
Outlining purpose, membership, tasks, authority, etc.
Example: General terms of reference for advisory group
Keeping the Board up to strength
Trustee recruitment, induction process and retention are all important elements of ensuring that the board is up to strength in numbers, skills, expertise and diversity of trustees. The demands on trustees and challenges of keeping your board up to strength are explored in this section.
Tips for an effective trustee
For individual self-reflection and for the board’s corporate direction.
Trustee induction pack
To help new trustees feel comfortable and confident in the role they have taken on.
Ensuring an effective board
Covering key functions of the board, support for board members, the value of organisational retreats, performance monitoring and organisational culture.
Good governance code
For the voluntary and community sector by the UK National Hub of Expertise in Governance.
This section briefly introduces the following five simple, yet effective, practical tools to assist the committee or board in creating a plan for advancing the work of a national association.
From Help the Hospices.
A website for building effective nonprofit boards from BoardSource, formerly the National Center for Nonprofit Boards in Washington, DC, which offers a variety of resources aimed at increasing the effectiveness of nonprofit organisations by strengthening boards of directors through their highly acclaimed consulting practice, publications, and tools, as well as for their strong membership program. BoardSource provides:
resources to nonprofit leaders through workshops, training, and an extensive Web-based database
governance consultants who work directly with nonprofit leaders to design specialised solutions to meet an organisation's needs
comprehensive selection of material on nonprofit governance, including a large selection of booklets, books, videotapes and audiotapes
an annual conference that brings together approximately 600 board members and chief executives of nonprofit organisations from around the world.
The Free Management Library provides easy-to-access, clutter-free, comprehensive resources regarding the leadership and management of yourself, other individuals, groups and organisations. Content is relevant to the vast majority of people in large or small, for-profit or nonprofit organisations. Over the past 10 years, the online library has grown to be one of the world's largest, well-organised collections of these types of resources, containing approximately 650 topics spanning 5,000 links. Topics include the most important practices to start, develop, operate, evaluate and resolve problems in for-profit and nonprofit organisations. Each topic has additionally recommended books and related library topics.
The Center for Good Governance
The Center for Good Governance is an organisation whose mission is to build capacities for effective government through technical assistance, training and applied research. Its services and activities are intended to help countries achieve economic and social development and to support their transitions to democracy. CGG can provide technical assistance and training in a number of public sector governance and management work areas relating to building capacity in central, state and local governments in such areas as budgeting, financial management, procurement and human resource management.
Articles of incorporation
Articles, Bylaws, Resolutions, Policies
By Free Management Library
This web page is a great resource for anyone writing their organisation’s articles of incorporation. It includes advice on considerations one should take and gives useful examples.
Sample articles of incorporation and constitution
Below you will find a collection of actual articles of incorporation and constitutions from existing palliative care associations around the world:
Asociación Argentina de Medicina y Cuidados Paliativos (AAMyCP) Modification to the Articles of Incorporation (in Spanish)
The Constitution of the Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network
Constitution of Help the Hospices (UK), a registered charity
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHCPO) Articles of Incorporation
Constitution of Singapore Hospice Council
Governance of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (USA), including bylaws
Sample Board nomination form