Chief Staff Officer (CSO)

 The Chief Staff Officer is the highest paid employee with oversight responsibilities for leading the association’s administration, accomplishing the goals of the members and the board, and managing the philosophy of the organization.

CSO has many titles

In different countries and associations, the chief staff officer is also known as manager, general manager, president, chief executive officer (CEO), executive vice president, secretary, secretary general, administrator, director, director general, and many other titles. All of these titles refer to the person who is charged with operating the business of the association on a day-to-day basis.

The Successful CSO:

  • Has high ethical and moral character and dependability.
  • Has the ability to measure existing programs and problems of members and knows the importance of planning for change.
  • Not only “gets along” with people, but is able to analyze, predict and influence people and the outcome of events.
  • Has leadership talents that can convince others of the desirability of goals and objectives so volunteers will follow because of abilities and ideas.
  • Has creative ability that changes the outcome of events.
  • Has good communication skills.

If the CSO has no accounting background, he or she must educate him or herself on the basics of association financial reporting. Understanding financial reports is not an optional skill for an association executive. CSOs have a fiduciary responsibility to members to make sure funds are spent properly and accounted for accurately.