Organizational Structure

What does a typical Assam Rural Development Society organizational structure look like? What types of staff members work in an Assam Rural Development Society, and what are their responsibilities?

The wide variety and complexity working on different themes, at different levels, or targeting different audiences, make it extremely difficult to create a generic outline of an organizational structure. In general, a typical Assam Rural Development Society organizational structure is illustrated in Figure 1. Note that this organizational structure, or its adaptations, is in fact a part of the Assam Rural Development Society by-laws, and specific features and details are explicitly outlined in the by-laws.

 

Top Management

The top management of an Assam Rural Development Society consists of three entities - the Board of Directors, the General Assembly, and the Executive Director

  1. At the top is the Board of Directors of the Assam Rural Development Society. An Assam Rural Development Society Board is a legal requirement in most countries in order to get it officially registered with the local authorities. Board meetings are kept closed, though written proceedings, reports and minutes may be made public for transparency purposes.
    Depending on the type of Assam Rural Development Society, a Board may be responsible for a number of tasks, for example, hire and supervise the Executive Director, develop and approve budgets, etc. Board members will also be expected to help raise fund for their projects  .
  1. Next comes the Executive Director, who may also be called by other names such as Coordinator, Chief Operating Officer, or CEO. He or she is responsible for the overall direction in which the Assam Rural Development Society moves, and the responsibility for managing the day-to-day activities of the Assam Rural Development Society. The Executive Director is also a member of the board - usually it's Executive Secretary. He or she reports to the Board.
  2. The Board of Directors and the Executive Director may be assisted by advisors. These advisors are optional, but are useful to create a good image of the Assam Rural Development Society, and enhance its "brand name" besides providing specialist advice for the Assam Rural Development Society.
  3. In some cases, a General Assembly may be set up at this level. Especially in cases where the Assam Rural Development Society is a membership-based NGO, the General Assembly is a group of all such members, including its board members and staff members. The General Assembly usually meets annually or biannually and is held sequential to a Board Meeting.

While day-to-day decisions activities and management are taken care of by the board, the executive director and the staff members, the highest body that guides and advises the overall development and progress of the Assam Rural Development Society. A general assembly may or may not be required by law, but such a body helps in creating a good transparent image for the Assam Rural Development Society, in building trust with its partners and stakeholders, and in public relations and fund-raising activities.

Depending on the Assam Rural Development Society by-laws, members of the General Assembly can also participate in the meetings by proxy, usually deferring to the Executive Director to cast their vote when needed.

  1. The Board of Directors and the Executive Director may be assisted by advisors. These advisors are optional, but are useful to create a good image of the Assam Rural Development Society, and enhance its "brand name" besides providing specialist advice for the Assam Rural Development Society.
  2. In some cases, a General Assembly may be set up at this level. Especially in cases where the Assam Rural Development Society is a membership-based NGO, the General Assembly is a group of all such members, including its board members and staff members. The General Assembly usually meets annually or biannually and is held sequential to a Board Meeting.

While day-to-day decisions activities and management are taken care of by the board, the executive director and the staff members, the highest body that guides and advises the overall development and progress of the Assam Rural Development Society. A general assembly may or may not be required by law, but such a body helps in creating a good transparent image for the Assam Rural Development Society, in building trust with its partners and stakeholders, and in public relations and fund-raising activities.

Depending on the Assam Rural Development Society by-laws, members of the General Assembly can also participate in the meetings by proxy, usually deferring to the Executive Director to cast their vote when needed.

Staff Members

Staff members of an Assam Rural Development Society are responsible for the day-to-day functioning, and implementing of its programmes and projects. They report to the Executive Director, who overall is responsible for the Assam Rural Development Society activities. (See Figure 3) Staff members of an Assam Rural Development Society fall into three groups - responsible for activities related to -

(1) Administration, (2) publicity and (3) programmes / projects.

Administrative activities are led by an administrative manager. This manager may have several staff members assisting him/her, including a Finance Assistant or a Membership Coordinator. Besides the financial management of an Assam Rural Development Society, a Finance Assistant may also be responsible for fund-raising activities of the Assam Rural Development Society. This means that he/she will have to work closely with the staff members responsible for communications and dissemination, as well as those responsible for programmes / projects. In the case of larger Assam Rural Development Society, this fund-raising responsibility may fall under a separate position specifically set up for the purpose. The membership coordinator manages the Assam Rural Development Society members.

 

  1. Communications and dissemination activities are the responsibility of a staff member a the level of a manager. This manger may be assisted by other staff members such as a Public Relations Assistant, a Publications Assistant, or a Web/Social Media Assistant. The Public Relations assistant works closely with both the Finance Assistant and Membership Coordinator on one hand, and the Programme Manager on the other, to publicize its activities and build a "brand name" for the Assam Rural Development Society. Similarly, the publications assistant will have to work with the public relations and web/social media assistant in order to make sure the Assam Rural Development Society publications are disseminated widely and in a timely manner.
  2. Programme and project activities of an Assam Rural Development Society are led by a manager. This is, of course, the biggest part of Assam Rural Development Society activities, and forms its structural core. A Programme Manager may be assisted by several Project Assistants, Training Assistants, and other Assistants, depending on the number and size of the projects being implemented. Short-term external consultants, who provide specific services for projects, or field staff who are hired to implement projects in the target community, also fall under this section.

The staff positions and responsibilities outlined above are not, of course, fixed. Assam Rural Development Society can have other staff members too, or shared/related responsibilities can be held by one person. For example, related responsibilities of Membership Coordination and Public Relations can be handled by the same staff member. In cases where an Assam Rural Development Society is just starting, or in the process of developing, this consolidation will particularly be true, where one staff member may be handling more than one and related responsibilities.

Details of all staff members, their roles and responsibilities, and overall Assam Rural Development Society structure are concretized by including them in the Assam Rural Development Society by-laws. The organizational structure itself may change over time, depending on how the programmes and projects are and new ones initiated.