Each Optimist Club operates autonomously. They choose their own programs, elect their own officers, and raise their own funds. Decisions are made by the club board of directors. The board includes the president, secretary – treasurer, vice presidents, past president, and elected directors. The president, vice presidents, and directors are elected by the club members; the secretary-treasurer is appointed by the president.
- The President is the key officer of the club. An effective president runs good club meetings, directs and organizes the club to meet its goals, and brings together all members as a contributing team.
- The Secretary-Treasurer handles finances and maintains club records.
- The Foundation Representative provides information on the Optimist International Foundations and encourages contributions from the club and its members.
Specific areas of club work are carried out by club committees. Typical committees include:
- Community Service – Organizes community-service projects.
- Fellowship – Stimulates attendance and fellowship at meetings, and plans social functions.
- Finance – Oversees the club budget and develops fund-raising projects.
- Membership – Works to attract new members and orient them to the club.
- New Club Building – Starts a new Optimist Club in a nearby community.
- Programs – Arranges programs for club meetings.
- Public Relations – Publicizes and promotes the club to the media and the general public. Many times, a representative from this committee publishes the club bulletin.
- Service Programs – Conducts community and youth service programs.