What is NAP?
The National Association of Parliamentarians® (NAP) is the premier professional non-profit association of parliamentarians. NAP provides services and products to help its members and the general public learn how to effectively participate in and manage meetings of deliberative assemblies such as school boards, homeowners associations, church boards, and volunteer organizations. NAP also provides continuing education and accreditation for parliamentarians who provide professional services to these types of organizations.
What is parliamentary procedure and why is it important?
Parliamentary procedure refers to the rules of democracy—the commonly accepted way in which a group of people come together, present and discuss possible courses of action, and make decisions.
All types of decision-making bodies use parliamentary procedure on a daily basis: school boards, homeowners’ associations, city councils, and non-profit boards of directors, for example. Parliamentary procedure also defines what duties people typically have when they are elected the president, secretary, or treasurer of an organization.
Even a basic background in parliamentary principles can help organizations hold more efficient meetings. However, consulting with a professional parliamentarian can bring organizations the benefits of a high level of parliamentary proficiency backed by dedicated study and broad experience.
What is a parliamentarian?
A parliamentarian, or parliamentary procedure consultant, is an expert in interpreting and applying the “Rules of Order” for meetings. These rules, such as Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, enable groups to efficiently and fairly discuss and determine actions to be taken.
A parliamentarian’s main function is to give advice on parliamentary procedure to the president, officers, committees, and members or a group or organization. Parliamentarians also have knowledge of the nomination and election process, which can be of great assistance in close or difficult elections.
Some of the ways a parliamentarian can assist organizations include:
- Convention Parliamentarian
- Bylaws Consultant
- Bylaws Amendment or Revision Author
- Advisor to the Officers and Board of Directors
- Expert Witness
- Professional Presiding Officer
- Trainer in Parliamentary Procedure
- Presiding Officer Trainer
- Election Supervisor
- Planning Meeting Strategist
- Script Writer
What is Robert’s Rules of Order?
Launched at NAP’s biennial convention in September 2011, the 11th edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised is the current edition of the most widely used reference for meeting procedure and business rules in the English-speaking world. It is the reference about which professional parliamentarians are experts. NAP provides hardbound, paperback, and exclusive spiral-bound editions of this resource, as well as other helpful tools.
How can I join NAP and become a parliamentarian?
NAP provides an array of services to help people interested in becoming experts in parliamentary procedure, including a variety of educational opportunities. This includes provisional and regular membership.
Regular members receive all of the standard benefits of NAP membership after demonstrating a basic knowledge of parliamentary principles by passing the 40-question membership exam. Many NAP members progress to either Registered Parliamentarian or Professional Registered Parliamentarian status through NAP’s accreditation programs.
How can I hire a parliamentarian?
While small volunteer organizations often rely on their own members to obtain the level of parliamentary expertise needed to ensure smooth-running meetings, many larger organizations take advantage of the services of a professional parliamentarian.
To contact a professional parliamentarian to help your organization conduct business more efficiently or solve a challenging problem, use NAP’s online referral form. The staff at NAP will then provide a list of available professionals to help with your specific needs.
Does NAP sponsor a youth program?
NAP supports young people in their quest to enhance their learning about parliamentary procedure through Youth Partnerships with six national youth organizations.
- Future Business Leaders of America
- Phi Beta Lambda
- Family, Career and Community Leaders of America
- Health Occupations Students of America
- Business Professionals of America
In addition, a convention internship program brings a student representative of each of the partnership organizations to the NAP biennial convention. The interns assist with convention registration, serve as pages during business meetings, attend educational sessions, participate in the youth committee workshop, and serve as an ambassador for their partnership. The members of NAP’s youth committee serve as mentors for the interns during the convention. NAP and the NAP Educational Foundation underwrite the internship program.
Does NAP have a magazine?
The National Parliamentarian, published quarterly, is NAP’s official publication. Each issue provides readers with insightful, up-to-date information on parliamentary procedure and how it is applied to a variety of situations and needs. Contact the editor for more information, to subscribe or contribute articles and/or photographs.
Does NAP accept donations?
Yes! Many people choose to support NAP’s objectives by contributing to the association or to the NAP Educational Foundation. Incorporated in January 1984, the foundation was organized to receive and disburse funds to the NAP to support the development of educational materials and other educational programs. Visit the NAP Educational Foundation website for more information.
Donations directly to NAP can be directed to one or more of these support areas:
- Youth Sponsorships, supporting NAP’s youth partnership programs
- Building Fund, supporting the maintenance of NAP’s headquarters building housing the association’s professional staff and product inventory
- Capital Equipment Fund, supporting member services and association operations through the purchase and maintenance of computer and office equipment
- Unrestricted giving, supporting all aspects of NAP’s operations.
Contributions to the NAP Educational Foundation help NAP:
- Underwrite the creation and marketing of NAP educational materials.
- Co-sponsor parliamentarians from NAP’s six Youth Partnership organizations to attend NAP biennial conventions.
- Award scholarships to NAP members who are full-time students so they may attend NAP conventions or National Training Conferences.
- Providing grants for NAP educational initiatives such as webinars and online courses.
NAP members may become members of the Foundation by contributing at least $25 to the foundation annually.