Specialty Group Officer Guidelines
AIC’s success stems directly from the work and passion of its members, especially its volunteer leadership. Thank you for choosing to lead!
The AIC board members and staff are here to support you and your group’s efforts; please stay in contact with your board and staff liaisons. They can answer questions, listen to suggestions and ideas you have, and help facilitate activities.
Key things to know
- Internal Advisory Group (IAG) Meeting. This is a day-long meeting held in Washington, D.C., each fall. Each group’s chair (or designate) attends, along with network chairs, committee chairs, AIC board members, AIC editors (JAIC, AIC News, and e-editor), and AIC and FAIC staff members.
- IAG Reporting. The IAG meeting provides specialty groups an opportunity to learn more about other aspects of AIC and current initiatives. The SG representative at the meeting must share what they learned with both SG leadership and their group upon their return.
- Annual Meeting. Each group has a program chair, typically in the Vice Chair position. The program chair works with the AIC meetings director and board vice president to plan specialty sessions, receptions, and business meeting. Decisions made at the SG business meetings must be shared with the AIC staff, so staff members can help enact changes, make payments, etc.
- Staff support. AIC staff members are listed on the AIC website. The membership team includes Ryan Winfield and Bonnie Naugle. They can be reached as a group via firstname.lastname@example.org or you can email each directly. The Membership Operations Assistant is the staff specialty group liaison. Linda Budhinata is the finance manager who prepares quarterly budgets for the SG treasurers.
- Communications. Chairs can communicate with their members via SG listservs, AIC News columns, Memberfuse, and email blasts (which are scheduled with staff members), and through Specialty Group subsites. Chairs can communicate with the broader conservation community through the AIC blog, Conservation Wiki, Conservation DistList, and AIC’s social media accounts.
- Accountability. Each group is accountable to their members. Certain actions and decisions require approval from group membership, group leadership, and the AIC Board of Directors. Member approval is expressed through votes, which primarily take place prior or at the group business meeting at the annual meeting. However, pending each group's Rules of Order, groups can establish guidelines for additional times or methods of demonstrating member approval. Group membership should vote on the following topics: election of officers, changes in dues, revisions to the Rules of Order, funding for special projects, and major new initiatives. SG officers can approve the group annual budget and regular business of the group without further approval. The AIC Board must approve any changes to the Rules of Order of a group prior to the change being presented to group membership for approval. Groups are encouraged to self-determine thresholds for either cost or scope of projects to provide consistency in seeking member approval and can consult both staff and board liaisons when unsure.
These are general descriptions of Specialty Group officer roles. Your group's Rules of Order will contain more detail and information specific to how your group is structured. The Rules of Order also contain guidelines for changing or amending the rules. Your first task as an officer should be to read your group's Rules of Order.
- Chair. A specialty group chair is responsible for ensuring the group passes a budget, holds a business meeting, and provides value to its members. The chair typically attends the IAG meeting and leads the SG business meeting. The chair is also expected to participate in cross-specialty communications, ensuring that SG group information is shared appropriately among officers and with members. Chairs lead continuity planning and facilitate officer transitions.
- Vice Chair. The vice chair serves on the Program Committee to develop programming for the annual meeting, working with the AIC meetings director and the AIC board vice president. The vice chair organizes the specialty group reception and business meeting. In many groups, the vice chair rotates into the chair position for their next term.
- Secretary. The secretary is responsible for taking minutes of group and officer meetings, and sharing those among the officers. A copy of the SG business meeting minutes must also be sent to the AIC staff.
- Treasurer. The treasurer creates a SG budget each year, reviews all invoices, and tracks group income and expenses with the AIC staff liaison and finance manager.
- Nominating Committee. Each SG has a nominating committee responsible for soliciting interest in serving on SG leadership. Consult your individual Rules of Order for specific information on the composition of your nominating committee. A timeline of election events, including deadlines for receipt of candidate information will be provided by the AIC staff liaison.
Officer roles vary from group to group. You can find a list of each group's positions and current officers here: ASG
As an officer, you are individually responsible for:
- Being an AIC member in good standing.
- Representing your particular specialty group.
- Reviewing and being familiar with the AIC Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, and Code of Ethics.
- Ensuring an officer from your group attends two in-person meetings, an IAG meeting in conjunction with the November AIC board meeting and your group’s business meeting during the annual meeting. Please inform AIC staff if the chair will be sending a representative to IAG.
- Attending the orientation webinar given by AIC staff.
- Promoting communication within your group and participating in any cross-specialty activities and planning calls. This typically includes electronic communications and voice calls, which may vary in frequency.
- Providing reports for board and IAG meetings, as requested by the board liaison. A report will be due prior to the May board meeting, which takes place shortly before the annual meeting. Two reports will be due prior to the IAG meeting, one for the board and one to be presented at the IAG meeting. See: Records Management Guidelines
- Ensuring that the AIC staff has an updated officers contact list immediately following any changes to the roster.
- Performing to the best of your abilities the responsibilities of your office, including responding to communications in a timely manner.
- Representing AIC and your specialty group to other organizations and individuals as someone in a leadership position in the organization.
- Making your own travel plans for IAG and the business meetings (see Travel and Meetings below).
- Paying for your own annual meeting registration, any ticketed events you sign up for, and meals during the annual meeting, unless your group subsidizes officer travel.
- Submitting reimbursements to the AIC staff within 30 days of a meeting or for other circumstances that require reimbursement.
AIC and its staff are responsible for:
- Managing AIC business, coordinating board activities, and assisting specialty groups
- Managing and reporting on Specialty Group financial activities
- Providing access to copies of AIC policies, procedures, and guidelines as needed
Budgets are developed with the assistance of the SG treasurer, AIC staff, and the AIC board liaison, typically in August and September. A budget-preparation template is provided along with a budget-development schedule. The group budget line items should include:
- Airline or rail tickets or automobile for delegates to attend November IAG meetings.
- Hotel rooms during November IAG meetings.
- Reimbursement for meals and miscellaneous expenses related to performing duties at November IAG meetings.
- Annual meeting costs, including Specialty Group receptions, events, audio/visual expenses, business meeting refreshments, and a portion of other annual meeting costs as noted by the meetings director.
- May include support for officer travel to the AIC annual meeting, as indicated in your group’s rules of order.
- Editing, layout, distribution costs
- Dropbox account, if applicable
- Donations to FAIC (optional)
- Scholarships or other support for group members
- Special Projects – query members for interests
Budgets should reflect expected expenditures for the next year. Reserves are used to supplement in case expenses exceed income, and to support special project of benefit to members, but should typically not exceed a year’s worth of income. Excess reserves mean your members’ dues are not being used in their benefit!
For more information on sponsorships, including a suggested timeline, see our sponsorship guidelines document.
See the Financial Guidelines section, or contact Linda Budhinata, Finance Manager, at (202) 661-8067, email@example.com.
AIC is dedicated to supporting the goals and activities of its Specialty Groups (SGs), including through facilitating and soliciting sponsorships. Sponsorships make SG activities more financially sustainable and provide opportunities to enrich SG members’ experience. The following are our guidelines for developing and maintaining these sponsor relationships.
Travel and Meetings
- Use the reimbursement form to specify expenses and submit the form and documentation to AIC within 30 days of travel.
- IAG details are sent out to the chairs before the meeting, so they have time to arrange transportation. The chair can send a representative to the meeting if they cannot attend in person. The substitute must be a current or past group officer.
- AIC books hotel rooms for IAG attendees; the cost should be covered in the SG budget. Please send the name of your representative to the AIC meetings director as soon as possible if it will not be the chair.
- Annual meeting arrangements are the responsibility of the officers. Chairs should plan to attend the annual meeting during their tenure, to lead the group business meeting and attend to any specialty session duties. If attendance is not possible, whether in advance or at the last minute, alternate plans for meeting leadership should be in place.
- We recognize that there may be a cost to serving in a leadership role. If this is an issue, please let the AIC staff know. There may be scholarships or grants available for meeting attendance. Some groups provide support to officers to attend the meeting. This policy should be in your group's rules of order. If fees are subsidized, note that reimbursement forms should be submitted promptly.
Specialty Group leadership is encouraged to solicit interest in and proposals for workshops through the foundation (FAIC). There are online submission forms to submit proposals for workshops, both at the annual meeting and in regular programming. For more information on workshops, reach out to FAIC Education Coordinator Sarah Saetren, firstname.lastname@example.org.