Advisory Board

The Advisory Board is composed of accomplished experts offering innovative advice and dynamic perspectives. Members provide The Spirit University (TSU) with knowledge, understanding and strategic thinking of the industry and management of TSU.

Role of Advisory Board

The Advisory Board is a collection of individuals who bring unique knowledge and skills which augment the knowledge and skills of the staff and owners (collectively Staff) in order to more effectively guide the organization.

The Advisory Board does not have formal authority to govern TSU nor issue directives which must be followed. Rather, the Advisory Board serves to make recommendations and/or provide key information and materials to the Staff. The Advisory Board plays an important public relations role as well as providing staff with a fresh perspective on programmatic issues.

A properly composed and structured Advisory Board can be a tremendous complement to the effectiveness of the Staff as it works to carry out a specific initiative. Since the owners have ultimate governance authority for the organization, the Advisory Board is able to focus narrowly on a specific program in order to advise or support TSU. The Advisory Board may evaluate the performance of a program, review/monitor/assess a specific program, serve as an advocate for TSU to the community it serves, gather input from/serve as a liaison for TSU, provide feedback to TSU from the community, provide technical expertise, provide an independent/unbiased sounding board, and assist Staff in determining important activities.

Other possible responsibilities of the Advisory Board include determining the mission and purpose of a program, articulating the goals, means, and primary community members to be served by a program, ensuring effective planning, monitoring and strengthening of programs and services, ensuring adequate financial resources, and enhancing the organization’s public standing.

An effective Advisory Board has terms of service where members are appointed to a specific term with term limits. It is also important to ensure the Advisory Board has a clear purpose and guidelines for membership.

How the advisory group contributes knowledge/skills to the Staff should also be formalized as well as how it interacts with the Staff. The Advisory Board benefits from having policies similar to those of a governing board of directors – for example: meeting attendance, decision-making, conflict of interest, and ethics policies. A written description of the role and responsibility of Advisory Board members is also critical. The Advisory Board needs a sufficient range of expertise to accomplish the organization’s mission.

Advisory Board Responsibilities

The Advisory Board does not have any legal authority; therefore all of their responsibilities are assigned at the discretion of the owners. Responsibilities assigned to an Advisory Board may include any or
all of the following:

• Program Creation and Planning. It can be beneficial during the early stages of developing a program so that committee members can provide advice concerning the design and plans for the program. It may be easiest to begin with a small Advisory Committee, for example, four to seven community leaders and community members, during the planning process of a program.

• Development of Program Policy. While the Advisory Board cannot create legally binding policies for the organization, they can help create policies which provide direction and support for the staff.

• Planning and Implementing Public Relations. An Advisory Board which includes influential community leaders can be effective at spreading the word about program services.

• Funding Leadership. Often Advisory Boards are created specifically to raise program funds. The Advisory Board must be granted this authority by the owners. Individuals committed to TSU with the influence to leverage resources will be most successful.

• Committees. The Advisory Board may develop Committees which have assigned tasks in specific areas. For example, a public awareness committee composed of four members may be responsible for making recommendations about public awareness strategies and resources. Committees may be short-lived according to a specific assignment or ongoing.

Other Tasks. Advisory Committees can be created to address a specific organizational need. These Advisory Committees are usually short-lived and are disbanded as soon as their specific goals are met.

Roles and Responsibilities of Advisory Board Members

Developing an understanding of business, market and industry trends related to TSU.
Provide “wise counsel” on issues raised by Staff.
Provide unbiased insights and ideas from a third point-of-view (not involved in the operation of TSU).
Encourage and support the exploration of new business ideas for TSU.
Act as a resource for Staff.
Encourage the development of a governance framework that enable sustainable growth of TSU.
Monitor TSU business performance.
Impose challenges to Staff that could improve the business.