NOA Guide

Leadership & Governance

Have an active leadership with good governance

An effective structure is important for developing and maintaining a strong NOA. The best NOA structures need:

  1. Strong Leadership
  2. Good Governance
  3. Planning
  4. Strong relationship with WOA and NOC

1. Strong Leadership

Executive Committee

Is responsible for developing the strategic vision and direction of its NOA, in consultation with members, and for ensuring good governance. Effective NOA Executive Committees should be made up of four to eight Olympians with a mix of ages, gender and sports, that are living in their home country. NOA Executive Committees should have term limits of four years and should not be allowed to serve more than two terms. There should be at least four Executive Committee meetings annually with at least one in person (the others can be by phone, Skype, Whatsapp, etc.)

WOA Code of Conduct

The code outlines the expected behaviours of the WOA EXCO and NOA leadership.

Succession planning

Is important to ensure the NOA can be sustained and have a strong legacy. Therefore, you should think ahead and identify and nurture potential future leaders.

2. Good Governance


When establishing your NOA, you should consider what is the most suitable set-up for your country. This should be done in consultation with your NOC, with their support and approval. Your NOA could be fully integrated into your NOC such as an Olympians’ Commission, or it could be an independent legal entity with an elected Executive Committee.

Terms of Reference

If your NOA is set-up as a Commission then you will need to have Terms of Reference. You can look at the Best Practices page for an example.


If your NOA is an independent legal entity, a Constitution is an essential tool for good governance. WOA has produced a template NOA Constitution as a guideline. Constitutions should be reviewed and updated at least once every four years.


Should be held to determine the NOA Executive Committee or Commission Members. Elections should be overseen by an objective, independent entity to ensure fairness. Elections should be held every four years in line with the WOA's recommended term limit (see Executive Committees above). All executive committee members should abide by the terms as mentioned in the Letter of Appointment and Code of Conduct.

Annual General Meetings

Are the opportunity to stage elections, update constitutions, discuss successful projects and map out the future. These meetings should be constructive, engaging and fun for your members. Host the meeting in an interesting location, arrange a reunion / networking party afterwards or arrange an OLY Presentation. Plan ahead and communicate the date well in advance.

3. Planning

Strategic plans

Should provide a 4-5 year high-level road map for your NOA which aligns with the WOA and your NOC. A good starting point for NOAs is the WOA Strategic Plan. Keep plans simple and achievable, and keep in mind how you can measure your success against it. It is always better to over-deliver.

Operational plans

Should come from your strategic plan and should start out as your NOA's ‘to-do list’ for the year. Once you have agreed your to-do list you should assign names of and deadlines to each action item. Again, keep it simple and achievable, and review it on a regular basis to help keep you on track. Here is an Operations Plan template to help you. Please refer to the Finance Management section for further guidance on budgeting.

Meetings and workshops

Meetings are where most of the operational planning and tracking of progress should take place and where you engage with your members. Keep meetings short, practical and prepare agendas in advance. Have goals in mind for what you want to achieve at each meeting and check at the end of the meeting that your goals have been achieved.

Workshops are for thinking and being creative, so this is best for strategic planning and developing project ideas. Set aside time, keep the atmosphere informal, and use breaks and team-building activities to keep minds fresh.

4. Relationship with WOA

Attend WOA events and meetings

In addition to building skills and knowledge, this is a great way to meet the WOA team and other NOAs who are your international support network.

Share your NOA plans and activities

The more you inform WOA of your plans and activities, the more the WOA team can help with suggestions of best practice or people to talk to for advice. WOA wants to share good ideas through the website, social media and in this NOA Guide so that other NOAs can benefit from your experiences and successes.

NOA Development Officers

These staff within the WOA team are based at a continental level to provide support to NOAs both in person and remotely. There are WOA Development Officers in Asia and the Americas and will expand to Africa in 2021. To find out more or to access this support, please contact the WOA team via

Membership of WOA

Will be renewed for NOAs every four years before the WOA General Assembly. NOAs will be asked to update WOA with their paperwork and contact information in order to receive a certificate of recognition for the next four years. 

Strong relations with your NOC

This is essential for the smooth running of your NOA and to ensure the use of branding and the running of activities. See Branding and Marketing as well as Stakeholder Engagement.

Updated on 12 August 2020