Creating and Managing User Roles and Terms

Matt Holmes
Matt Holmes


What are Roles and Terms in OnBoard?

Organization bylaws generally enforce the maximum duration that a board or committee member can serve in a particular role. Typically, this is broken down into a maximum number of terms, and each term has a set duration. OnBoard’s Roles and Terms feature helps keeps this information organized, so you stay informed when a user’s term is about to expire.

Here are some examples of Roles and Terms:

Board of Directors

Finance Committee

Role: Director Role: Member

Maximum Number of Terms: 3

Maximum Number of Terms: 3

Term Duration: 3 Years

Term Duration: 2 Years

Role: Chair Role: Chair

Maximum Number of Terms: 2

Maximum Number of Terms: 1

Term Duration: 2 Years

Term Duration: 1 Year

Setting up Your Organization’s Roles

To begin configuring your Roles, you must first be the Admin of your organization and click the Settings button in the main navigation, then click the Feature tab at the top of the page. Scroll down until you see the section for Roles & Terms Settings.


Notice that in this panel, we can see several pre-populated Roles. Feel free to use any of these as a template or remove them if they're unnecessary.  Click Configure Roles to make changes to this list.


From here, simply type the name of the new Role into the textbox and click Add.


If you wish to edit or remove any existing Role, that can be accomplished by first clicking the 3-dot context button out to the side of each listed role and selecting either Rename or Delete.


Click Done when you are finished making changes to the list of available Roles for your organization.

Configure Term Lengths and Limits

After the Roles have been created or edited to your needs, the next step will be to define the Term lengths and limitations for each role. This is done in the same location as above (Settings > Features), by clicking on Configure Term Limits, in the Roles & Terms Settings section.


Your organization may have different term definitions for the same type of role across multiple different departments or committees. Because of this, we’ll be using a combination of OnBoard Groups and the Roles we just configured in the steps above to set Term Limits for each possible combination.

As an example, we’ve only created one Role called “Chair”, but there could potentially be a “Chair” person in both the Audit and Financial Committees Groups that have different Term Length definitions. We will be able to configure this appropriately in the following steps.

You can see in the example shown below that we already have a Board of Directors Chair term limit configured, but we still need to configure one for the Financial Committee Chair. Select the Financial Committee from the Group menu, and Chair from the Role menu. Next, enter the desired number of Terms able to be served in this Role, and the length of each individual term. Click Add when you’re ready to save!


This process will need to be repeated for each Group/Role combination you need to define.

To edit or delete an existing Term Limit, you can click the 3 vertical dots to the far right-hand side of the screen.


With a fully populated list of Term Limit definitions, you will be able to use the dropdown menu at the top of the page to filter the list for easier viewing.


Setting up Users with a Role/Term

Now it’s time to tie everything together. The last configuration step will assign our current user base to one of the Roles and Terms we’ve just configured. This step will also happen continually as terms expire and users assume new roles in the organization.

Click the Directory button in the main navigation and select Roles & Terms at the top of the page. The first time you view this page, you’ll be presented with the option to start configuring all of the Roles/Terms for an entire Group of users all at once (such as our entire Board of Directors), or to configure all of the different roles a specific person may have (if one person happens to hold multiple different Roles within the organization).


Adding Roles By Group (First Time Use)

When selecting Add By Group in the screenshot shown above, you’ll need to select the group you’d like to work with.


The next screen is automatically populated with all of the users who are members of that group, which is also already selected. From here, we just need to choose which Role these users belong to in this particular Group, which Term Number they are currently serving, and when their Term Starts and Ends.


If an appropriate role is not available, click on 2023-03-23_15-10-25.png next to the Role header and select Configure Roles. You can add a new role or click on the 3-dotted menu to the right of an existing role to rename or delete existing roles.



Adding Roles By Member (First Time Use)

If instead, you choose to Add By Member in the workflow shown above, you’ll be able to follow the same process as mentioned in the Add By Group section, but this time, you’ll be setting up all of the Roles a single user may have across multiple different groups. After clicking Add By Member, choose the user you wish to configure, and click Select Member.


The user selected will be brought into this grid along with all of the groups they currently belong to, where you’ll be able to associate their appropriate Role, Term Number, and Term Dates. Click Save to confirm your changes.


Adding Users to Roles and Terms (After First Time)

Once you’ve entered user data into Roles & Terms on the directory page, you’ll no longer see the large purple ADD buttons. Instead, you’ll be greeted with all sorts of useful information on the Roles & Terms page.


However, you will still be able to configure and edit user Roles from this page. It is just in a slightly different location. Once you’ve navigated to the Directory > Roles & Terms page, you can click on Table to switch the panel view.


This will switch the lower half of the screen from the chart view to one where you’ll be able to add users by Group or Member like before, and also Manually.


In Manual Entry Mode, select the user, group, and Role all individually, row by row, one at a time. Here, we don’t have to worry about selecting users all from the same group.


Adding Historical Roles & Terms for Past Members

Many organizations have historical Roles & Terms data for Members, Directors, and Trustees that are no longer with their organization. 

It is possible to enter this historical Roles & Terms data in OnBoard. Review this Tip on how to add Historical Roles & Terms Data for Past Members.

The Roles & Terms Page

The Roles & Terms page in the User Directory can be a very valuable tool for keeping up to date on many things.

Recommended Actions

The Recommended Actions section at the top of the page will provide alerts to help guide you on what users are missing Roles & Terms information and when Roles & Terms need to be updated. 

The Recommended Actions section near the top will show alerts for:

  • Users who have been recently added to a group and may need a new Role configured for that group.
  • Users who do not currently have any roles assigned within a group.
  • Users who have a "Term Ending" in the next 180 days.
  • Users who have had a term expire recently.
  • Users who have had their final term in a particular role expire recently.

Important Note: Recommended Actions will only appear for Admins.

Important Note: Recommended Actions will not be sent out as notifications.


Each of these Recommended Actions has an action button listed alongside it to easily rectify any pending issue.



Use the Expand arrow to the right of any of these listed items to get more detail about who falls into these categories.


Roles & Terms Chart

The bottom half of the Roles & Terms page is where we’ll find the Roles & Terms Chart. A visual representation of term periods with the ability to filter and sort by specific groups, users, timeframes and more.


Roles & Terms on the User Profile

All of the Roles and Term information associated with a user is visible by navigating to their user profile from the Directory page. Simply select a user from the list and scroll down to see a list their list of Groups, Roles and Terms.

Important Note: You will ONLY be able to see Roles & Terms in profiles for your fellow group members unless you are an Administrator. 


Roles & Terms on the Group Page

Similar to the User Profile page, the Group page will also show Roles & Term information for that particular Group’s membership. Navigate to the Directory, then the Group tab to view a list of groups you belong to. Here, Admins can see a few quick action menus to view or edit the member’s roles.

Important Note: Group Members will be able to see Terms for a group they are part of, but only Administrators of the Group can manage them.



OnBoard Group Trainings:

If you are interested, we do offer further education. You can find the calendar and register for OnBoard Admin group training sessions by clicking here

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  • Comment author
    Theresa Hazard
    • Edited

    Very helpful article, thank you. How would I edit the term information after it has been saved?

  • Comment author
    Barbara Nicholls

    Hi, Theresa.  This is now I edit them:

    1) Settings \ Feature \ Roles & Terms Settings \ Roles -- and/or -- Term Limits.  (Overarching rules.)

    2) Directory \ Table \ Three Dots to the far right of individual's info to be updated \ Update Roles & Terms.  (For individuals.)

    There may be other ways, as well, but these are my current go-to's.


  • Comment author
    Shirissee Morgan

    Is there a way to avoid term limits for staff members when adding roles?  For example, I have a group named President's Leadership Team and are not trustees but members of the president's office.  There wouldn't be a limit


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