Trustee Handbook

Welcome to the Governing Board of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA). We are delighted that you have been elected as an Officer or Trustee and we look forward to working with you during your term(s) of service. The information included in this handbook is intended to address any questions you might have while serving on the Governing Board.

   Your Role in the AIA

Each member of the Governing Board plays a vital role in implementing the mission of the AIA. Click below to learn more about how your particular role serves the Institute.

The Role of an Officer

The Role of an Academic Trustee

The Role of a General Trustee

The Role of a Society Trustee

   Donating to the Annual Fund

As a non-profit organization, the AIA relies heavily upon the Governing Board for a large portion of its charitable funding. Donations to the AIA’s programs are welcome to the extent each Trustee is able, but 100% participation by the Governing Board in the AIA Annual Fund is critical to the AIA’s fundraising efforts. While minimum contributions are described below, Trustees with the resources to do so are strongly encouraged to increase giving levels, if possible. Trustees are also expected to participate in any campaign endorsed by the Governing Board. Specific fund­raising responsibilities are as follows:

  1. General Trustees: Those who joined the Governing Board in 2021 or after, should make an Annual Fund contribution totaling at least $15,000 annually. Those who joined the Governing Board prior to 2021 are encouraged to make an Annual Fund contribution totaling $15,000 annually but are only obligated to make an Annual Fund contribution totaling at least $10,000 annually. 
  2. Academic and Society Trustees: Each Academic Trustee or Society Trustee should make an Annual Fund contribution totaling at least $1,000 annually.

Click here to make your Governing Board pledge to the Annual Fund.

Click here to make your Governing Board donation to the Annual Fund.

   Membership in the AIA

All Trustees are expected to maintain an active AIA membership. If a Trustee fails to maintain an active membership, they will be automatically renewed and sent an invoice for any unpaid dues.

Click here to become a member of the AIA or to renew your AIA membership.

Both professional archaeologists and archaeological enthusiasts belong at the Archaeological Institute of America, making the AIA a unique organization that brings scholars and the public together. Members receive a variety of benefits while helping the AIA protect and preserve archaeological sites, create a vivid and informed public interest in civilizations of the past, and foster the practice of responsible archaeology.

Current membership categories includes:

  • Supporting
  • Professional
  • Retired Professional and Contingent Faculty
  • Graduate Student
  • Undergraduate and Below Student
  • Military and K-12 Educator
  • Lifetime
  • Corresponding (by election only)
   Mission and History of the AIA

Mission Statement of the AIA
The AIA promotes archaeological inquiry and public understanding of the material record of the human past to foster an appreciation of diverse cultures and our shared humanity. The AIA supports archaeologists, their research and its dissemination, and the ethical practice of archaeology.  The AIA educates people of all ages about the significance of archaeological discovery and advocates for the preservation of the world’s archaeological heritage.

Click here to see a list of highlights from the AIA’s history.

   Governance Structure

Click here to read the Charter of the AIA. 

The 1906 Congressional charter vests the governance of the AIA in a Council. The Council of the AIA is made up of the members of its Governing Board, chairs of the Managing Committees of all American Schools that the Institute has founded, the presidents of each AIA Society, and appointed delegates from each AIA Society according to its size. The Council meets once a year at the Annual Meeting to conduct AIA business and to elect new Governing Board members.

Governing Board
In the intervals between the meeting of Council at the Annual Meeting, the Governing Board exercises full power in managing the Institute and conducting its affairs. In addition, the Governing Board has responsibility for preparing and approving the organization’s annual budget, for overseeing its investments and endowment, and for conducting fundraising activities. The Governing Board meets three times per year and consists of the President, the First Vice President, four Vice Presidents, the Past President, the Treasurer, the Executive Director, and not fewer than twenty-four and not more than thirty Trustees (divided into Academic, General, and Society Trustees) who shall be elected by the Council.

Executive Committee
The Executive Committee was established by the Governing Board in 1984 to exercise all the power and authority of the Governing Board between meetings of the Governing Board. The Executive Committee meets three times per year and has thirteen members: President, First Vice President, Vice President for Outreach and Education, Vice President for Research and Academic Affairs, Vice President for Cultural Heritage, Vice President for Societies, Treasurer, Executive Director, the Chair (or one of two co-chairs) of the Development Committee, and four Trustees, one of whom must be an Academic Trustee. The Executive Committee typically meets via video. Governing Board ratification of Executive Committee actions is not required.

Duties of Care and Loyalty
The following is excerpted from The Attorney General’s Guide for Board Members of Charitable Organizations, “The law imposes upon you two primary duties: the duty of care, and the duty of loyalty. The duty of care means that you must act with such care as an ordinarily prudent person would employ in your position. The duty of loyalty means that you must act in good faith and in a manner that you reasonably believe is in the best interest of the organization, in light of its purposes.” These duties mean that Officers and Trustees should read materials and attend meetings to be informed about matters to be discussed and voted upon. Officers and Trustees should exercise informed, independent judgment, and should be aware of all aspects of the AIA’s finances to assure that the organization is using funds contributed by the public to carry out its mission. Finally, Officers and Trustees should avoid conflicts of interest or promptly disclose any that are unavoidable and recuse themselves from discussion and/or vote on a matter if appropriate.


All Trustees are expected to act in accordance with the Code of Ethics, amended January 8, 2016.

All Trustees who are professional archaeologists in any category of Governing Board membership are expected to uphold the Code of Professional Standards, amended January 8, 2016.

All Trustees are expected to adhere to the Conflict of Interest Policy and must sign the policy annually. Click here to read and sign the Conflict of Interest Policy.

Click here to view the AIA Regulations (bylaws).

Click here to view a complete list of AIA policies.


In addition to making their own contribution to the Annual Fund,  Governing Board members are expected to serve as ambassadors for the AIA as part of their fiduciary responsibility. This could consist of introducing friends to the AIA, identifying oneself as a member and Officer/Trustee of the AIA, helping to create a partnership with another organization, or cultivating and soliciting donations.

The two most important fundraising mechanisms the AIA has to achieve its programmatic and strategic goals are:

Annual Giving: Annual Fund donations are the lifeblood of the AIA, providing critical support for everything the organization does. Each fiscal year, all Officers and Trustees are expected to donate to the Annual Fund.

Planned Giving: In 1999, the AIA established the Charles Eliot Norton Legacy Society to recognize those forward-thinking individuals who have taken steps to include the AIA in their estate plans. Today, there are close to 100 members in the Norton Society, and their actions will benefit the AIA long into the future. Officers and Trustees are encouraged to consider including the AIA in their estate plans.

   Administrative Fee on Restricted Gifts & Endowment Policy

In the Fall of 2019, a review of AIA financial data and a study of comparable organizations, encouraged the Finance Committee to approve 25% (up from 15%) be allocated from restricted gifts to offset administrative costs to ensure that the organization continues to run in an efficient and cost-effective manner and that its programs meet the highest levels of excellence.

  • Temporarily restricted gifts: 25% administrative support fee will be released to operations in the fiscal year the gift is received to fulfill the program.
  • Restricted endowment gifts: The contribution will be deposited into the endowment fund when received per the endowment policy. 25% administrative support fee from the endowment draw will be allocated to unrestricted income in the current fiscal year to fulfill the program.
  • In rare cases, the AIA Executive Director may negotiate a different or no administrative fee for gifts of significant value and will notify the Governing Board or Executive Committee if this occurs.

Click here to view the AIA Endowment Policy.

   Other Resources

The AIA publishes ARCHAEOLOGY magazine and the American Journal of Archaeology.

Click here for information regarding ARCHAEOLOGY magazine.

Click here for information regarding the American Journal of Archaeology.

The AIA has over 100 affiliated local societies throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe that host programs and carry out the AIA’s mission in their communities.

Click here for a complete list of Societies.

Awards, Fellowships, Grants, and Scholarships
Each year, the AIA presents awards to individuals and organizations whose work has had a positive impact on the field of archaeology. In addition, the AIA offers a variety of fellowships, grants, and scholarships for excavation, research, publication, and site preservation.

Click here for a complete list of awards, fellowships, grants, and scholarships.

Committees and Interest Groups
All Officers and Trustees are expected to contribute to the work of the Institute by participating in at least one committee.

Click here for a complete list of committees and their charges.

Click here for more information regarding the AIA’s Interest Groups.

National Lecture Program
The AIA National Lecture Program has been entertaining audiences since 1895. Top scholars from North America and abroad present on a wide range of current archaeological topics to AIA Societies. Lectures are free and open to the public. 

Click here to view the Lecture Program calendar.

Annual Meeting 
Each year, the AIA hosts a joint annual meeting with the Society for Classical Studies.

Click here for more information regarding the Annual Meeting.

International Archaeology Day 
International Archaeology Day (IAD) is a celebration of archaeology and its contributions to society. Every October, the AIA and archaeological organizations around the world present archaeological programs and activities for people of all ages and interests. 

Click here for more information about participating in International Archaeology Day.

AIA Tours
AIA Tours is outsourced to a company called Eos located in Walpole, NH. Eos has been directing AIA Tours since January 2000.

Click here for more information on AIA Tours. 

support Us

The AIA is North America's largest and oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to archaeology. The Institute advances awareness, education, fieldwork, preservation, publication, and research of archaeological sites and cultural heritage throughout the world. Your contribution makes a difference.