The governance structure of the International Association for Religious Freedom, a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), is outlined in its constitution. This includes the objects, powers, membership, decision-making process, and other relevant information. The key aspects of the governance system are as follows:
1. Objects: The CIO’s objects are to relieve people in need in countries where freedom of religion is restricted, promote religion, educate the public about religion, and alleviate poverty.
2. Powers: The CIO has the power to do anything necessary to further its objects, including borrowing money, acquiring and disposing of property, employing staff, and investing funds.
3. Application of income and property: The income and property of the CIO must be used solely for the promotion of its objects.
4. Benefits and payments to charity trustees and connected persons: Charity trustees and connected persons are prohibited from receiving preferential terms for goods or services from the CIO, selling goods or services to the CIO, being employed by or receiving remuneration from the CIO, or receiving any other financial benefit from the CIO.
5. Conflicts of interest and conflicts of loyalty: Charity trustees are required to declare any conflict of interest they have in a proposed transaction or arrangement with the CIO. They must absent themselves from discussions and decisions where a conflict of interest may arise.
6. Membership: Membership of the CIO is open to organizations and corporate bodies interested in furthering its purposes. Individual and associate members are non-voting members, while individual members can form chapters with voting rights.
7. Members’ decisions: Decisions of the members can be taken at general meetings or through written resolutions. Ordinary decisions require a simple majority of votes cast, while certain decisions have specific requirements.
8. Charity trustees: The charity trustees are responsible for managing the CIO and must act in the best interest of the organization. They are subject to retirement, removal, and reappointment as outlined in the constitution.
9. Advisory Council: The CIO has an Advisory Council, consisting of past directors and charity trustees, appointed by the current charity trustees. The council advises the charity trustees on strategic matters and meets at least once a year.
10. Meetings and proceedings: General meetings of the members and meetings of the charity trustees must be called and conducted according to the constitution. Electronic participation and voting are permitted under certain conditions.
11. Disputes: Disputes among members about the validity or propriety of actions taken by the members should first be resolved through mediation.
12. Amendment and dissolution: The constitution can only be amended by a resolution agreed by all members or a 75% majority vote at a general meeting. The CIO can be voluntarily wound up or dissolved by resolution of its members, subject to legal requirements.