Board Responsibilities

ONA requires an active, engaged and forward-thinking board to ensure its growth and success. Board members are the fiduciaries who steer the organization towards a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies, as well as by making sure the ONA has adequate resources to advance its mission.

Board members have three main legal responsibilities:

Duty of Care — Each board member has a legal responsibility to participate actively in making decisions on behalf of the organization and to exercise the best judgment while doing so.

Duty of Loyalty — Each board member must put the interests of the organization before their personal and professional interests when acting on behalf of the organization in a decision-making capacity. The organization’s needs come first.

Duty of Obedience (Compliance) — Board members bear the legal responsibility of ensuring that the organization complies with the applicable federal, state, and local laws and adheres to its mission.

The ONA Board is a strategic board in that its key function is to set strategic direction for the organization and govern the process vs. some boards that take on more operational and planning functions. The board follows BoardSource’s ten essential responsibilities of nonprofit boards to guide its work.

Once elected, an ONA board member must also be prepared to fulfill the responsibilities outlined below:

  • Board members must be committed to editorial independence, journalistic excellence, freedom of expression and freedom of access in digital media.
  • Board members are committed to developing and supporting a new generation of digital journalists through ONA’s programs, particularly its annual conference, the Online Journalism Awards, professional and leadership development, regional events, training, publications and partnerships with other journalism organizations.
  • Board members will be asked to fundraise.
  • Board members will be asked to contribute directly to the organization and be prepared to make ONA their most significant annual charitable contribution. We ask for 100 percent board participation.
  • Board members are required to participate in approximately five board conference calls and attend two in-person board meetings (annually late January and June) at their own expense. Board members do not receive complimentary passes to ONA events and programs.
  • Board members will chair or serve on ad hoc committees; organize and/or host local events; or be ready to stand for election for one of the four board officer positions (President, Vice President, Secretary or Treasurer), dependent on membership category.
  • Board members will be representatives/spokespersons for ONA at industry-related events and spread the ONA message where appropriate through their websites, blogs and social media.
  • Board members should be familiar with the association bylaws and the organization’s history.