Glossary: Association democratic
Getting a hang of associations and how they work is hard as it is, add to that learning about associations in a different language = Puh! On this site we’ve listed some of the most common words used within Swedish associations, hopefully it can make it a bit easier to understand what means what.
Note that the words are in both Swedish and English and the description only in English. If you wish to see a Swedish description as well, you find a Swedish version of the glossary here:
Swedish words M–Ö
Postpone or defer something so it will happen later. For example, a point at a meeting agenda can be adjourned to another time, so instead of making a decision now, the decision is made later. Example: Decisions on the purchase of new mats are adjourned until after lunch.
This means that you accept and approve the work the board has done during the past financial year. A discharge decision is made by the members at the annual meeting. Either you grant the board discharge or you do not. Often the decision is made based on what the auditor or auditors propose.
This means that you do not agree and/or vote against a proposal that has been presented, for example at an annual meeting. Example: I reject the board’s proposal of the purchase of new mats.
At an annual meeting, you need to request the floor if you want to say something. You request the floor by, for example, by raising your hand or, if the meeting is online, pressing a certain button that says “Request the floor” or “Raise your hand”.
It means approve or accept.
This means agreeing and/or voting in favour of a presented proposal, for example at an annual meeting. Example: “I approve the board’s proposal of purchase of new mats” or “I request approval for the board’s proposal of purchase of new mats”.
If you do not want to cast your vote in a voting, you can vote blank, which means that you vote but you do not vote for either option or neither for nor against. In other words, a blank vote means that you abstain to vote on this issue.
This means taking notes on the financial transfers, income and expenses made. These are then compiled after one year in a financial statement.
Is a word used to describe an association’s or confederation’s compilation of its finances and the financial transfers, income and expenses made during the last fiscal and financial year. The financial statements will be presented at the annual meeting.
It means postponing or delaying something until later. For example, a point at a meeting agenda can be shelved to another time, so instead of making a decision now, the decision is made later. Example: Decisions on the purchase of new mats are shelved until after lunch.
A fiscal year that does not follow the calendar year means that the fiscal year does not start on January 1, it can start in September, for example. No matter which month of the year the fiscal year begins, the fiscal year must always start on the first day of the month and end on the last day of the month of the following year. Examples of a fiscal year not following calendar year are: 1 September to 31 August.
Fiscal years (both following and not following calendar year) mean much the same as the financial year, but focus not only on the activities that took place during the year, but the fiscal year focuses primarily on how the economy has been during the past year. Fiscal years include, for example, financial statements and accounting. A fiscal year (both following and not following calendar year) is always, except for the first year of the association or confederation, 12 months.
In order for a meeting to run smoothly and contain relevant information, there is always an agenda or a list of topics for the meeting. An agenda is a bit like a schedule for the meeting, which lists what should be addressed at the meeting and the order in which it should be done (sometimes there may be dates and times when certain topics or issues should be discussed). In this way it should also be easier to keep up with the meeting as a participant. Most often, the first point on the agenda is the chairperson opening the meeting and the last point is the chairperson concluding the meeting.
Is a word for a special form of governance where the people are in charge. The opposite of democracy is dictatorship, then all power lies with one or a few people.
Is a word used to describe a geographical area or region. For example, the district of Skåne.
This allows someone else to temporarily have the power they have themselves. For example, you can give someone else a power of attorney to vote on behalf of you at an annual meeting..
A confederation is much like an association, but instead of individual persons being members of a confederation, usually the associations are the members. Therefore, confederations are usually more centrally controlled than associations. A confederation is like an organisation to which associations (or persons) with common interests are members. Examples of confederations are the Swedish Budo & Martial Arts Confederation and the Asthma and Allergy Confederation.
An association is a group of people who have come together to work or exercise together for a common interest. An association is often its own legal entity, which means that the association has a board and statutes that describe how the association should be managed and governed.
It means the same as representing.
Most non-profit assignments are called positions of trust. This means that those who have a position of trust have been given the members’ trust to have the assignments they have, e.g. to be a leader in the association or chairperson of the board.
An adjuster, often also called a protocol adjuster, reads through a protocol to make sure that what is there is correct and consistent with what happened and was said at the meeting.
Calendar year is the word that describes the year that starts January 1 and ends December 31.
Means the same as invitation.
The treasurer is the person who is responsible for the finances of an association and board of directors.
Committee is a word sometimes used to describe a group that has special responsibility for something in an association or a confederation. Examples of committees are: Medical committee or educational committee.
The members who are on a board and are not selected to be chairperson or vice-chair, treasurer or vice-treasurer, secretary or vice-secretary are members.
Majority means that something is or has more than anything else. If 10 people are going to choose between buying soft ice or ice-cream for the association’s café and 6 of the people vote for soft ice and 4 of the people for ice-cream, the soft ice has a majority, as most people voted for it. This type of majority is called an absolute majority and is the most common type of majority used to make decisions on issues at an annual meeting.
Another type of majority is a qualified majority, which means that a proposal or issue must receive at least 2/3 of the votes. In the example above with the ice-creams, this means that 7 people will have to vote for the soft ice instead of 6, because then the soft ice gets at least 2/3 of all 10 votes. Qualified majority voting is needed when proposing amendments to the statutes, for example.
A person who has paid the membership fee to their association becomes a member of that association.
That is the amount of money you pay to be a member of an association. How high or low the membership fee should be in an association is determined by the members at the annual meeting.
Proposals that come from members and not from the board. Motions are submitted in advance to the annual meeting, how and when a motion must be submitted by is written in the statutes, but usually it can be via email. Decisions on motions will be made later at the annual meeting.
It’s the same as proposing or appointing. For example, you can nominate a person for an award or assignment. Example: I nominate Eric as Coach of the Year. Or: I nominate Eric as Chairperson of the Board.
Describes a person who has been authorised to represent someone else, e.g. at an annual meeting. If you want to but cannot attend an annual meeting, by authorising someone else, you can let that person go and vote for you. Check what applies in your association or confederation regarding delegates and authorisations.
Is the person leading the agenda and conversation at a meeting, which means both starting and ending a meeting and, when it suits, giving the floor to others in the meeting who want to have their say. The Chairman of a Board is also responsible for inviting the board to board meetings.
Proposals from the board are called propositions. Propositions for the annual meeting shall be included in the board’s invitation to the annual meeting.
Means the same as meeting notes or written report. In associations, the notes from meetings, such as board meetings or annual meetings, are often referred to as minutes.
The person who conducts the financial audit or control of an association’s or confederation’s finances is called an auditor.
Fiscal years mean much the same as the financial year, but focus not only on the activities that took place during the year, but the fiscal year focuses primarily on how the economy has been during the past year. Fiscal years include, for example, financial statements and accounting.
A fiscal year is always, except for the first year of the association or confederation, 12 months. A fiscal year always starts on January 1 and runs until December 31.
This means that you have the right to vote in elections and votes, e.g. at an annual meeting.
Is the person who writes notes at a meeting. At an annual meeting, it is the secretary who writes the minutes of the meeting.
Department, or unit, is a word sometimes used to describe a group that has special responsibility for something in an association or a confederation. Examples of departments are: Department of Medicine and Youth Department.
Are a form of regulation and conditions for an association. The statutes usually state why the association exists, what activities it should conduct, how those activities should be organised and how the association should be governed. The statutes also state what rights and obligations you as a member have and also how the membership fee is decided and when it should be paid by.
Information about the association’s annual meeting is also stated in the statutes, for example when, where and how the meeting will be held and when the invitation to the meeting should be sent out to the members. All associations must have their own statutes.
It is made up of people who were voted in at the annual meeting. A board consists of a chairperson, a treasurer and a secretary. In addition to the three people, there may be more people, those people are called ordinary members. The board is for an association or confederation what the government is for us citizens, they are appointed to be responsible for and steer the association or confederation forward.
The meetings the board has are called board meetings.
They are members of the board but not actively. A deputy is much like a fire-fighter on call, which means that if a person on the board, for example an ordinary member, cannot attend a meeting or wants to terminate his or her assignment as an ordinary member early, it is the deputy who steps in and takes that person’s place. You can call the person a reserve ordinary member.
In some associations, in addition to membership fees, there is also a training fee. The training fee is the amount of money you pay to train in an association or club while the membership fee is the fee you pay to be a member of the association or club. Often the training fee is a little more expensive than the membership fee as the training fee is used to, for example, pay the rent for training facilities, purchase equipment and so on.
It means about the same as advertising or promoting something. You often say that you call the annual meeting, which means sending out an invitation and setting up information about the meeting in places where it will reach the members, e.g., in the clubhouse. Reports on performance the past year, such as the costs and the issues and proposals (propositions and motions) to be addressed at the annual meeting, must also be presented to members in advance. How, when and where the information will be presented is stated in the statutes.
A nominating committee is a group of persons responsible for proposing people who can be members of a board. Most often, the nominating committee proposes one person as Chairperson of the Board and then various persons to be ordinary members and deputies. The proposals will be presented and voted on at the annual meeting. The members of the nominating committee are voted in by the members at the annual meeting. Each association and confederation must have its own nominating committee.
Is a summary or written report of what has happened in the association/confederation during the past year. The annual report will be presented at the annual meeting.
Is a proposal from the board on what and how they think the association/confederation should conduct its business in the coming year. The business plan will be presented at the annual meeting.
Describes the period of activity of an association or confederation. A financial year starts on January 1 and ends on December 31.
It means the same as election. To vote about something.
An opinion or a comment. Most often, a proposal is claimed, e.g. for an amendment or an addition to an already presented proposal (a motion or proposition). Example: “I reject the board’s claimed proposal to buy new mats and instead propose that the association buy new water bottles.” A claim can also be used to support only one proposal that has been presented, such as “I support the board’s claimed proposal to buy new mats” or “I would like to approve the claimed proposal to buy new water bottles instead of mats”. A claim can thus be made to show other participants how they intend to vote on the issue.
As the name suggests, the annual meeting is a meeting that is usually held once a year. It is the board that invites the members of the association or the confederation to the annual meeting. At the annual meeting you go through the past year, what has happened since the last annual meeting up until the new annual meeting.
The items and issues to be addressed at the meeting are in a list of topics/agenda. At the annual meeting, it is the members who vote and make decisions on various issues and decide how they want the future of the association or confederation to be. In order to vote, you as a member must have paid the membership fee to the association or the confederation.
Sometimes some associations have an age limit on how old you must be to vote, just as in order to vote in the Swedish government and parliamentary elections you need to be 18 years of age.