The member-societies of the IARU participate in its governance in two ways: through attendance at the conference of their regional organization and through voting on proposals circulated by electronic mail by the Administrative Council.
In each of the three IARU regions the regional conference is the ultimate authority. At a regional conference, typically held every three years in each of the three regions on a rotating basis, the dues are set, a budget is adopted, and an executive committee is elected to administer the affairs of the region until the next conference. The conferences also consider proposals and recommendations from the member-societies as well as from committees and working groups.
Coordination among the three regions and adoption of overall IARU policy is done by the Administrative Council, made up of the three global IARU officers (President, Vice President, and Secretary) and two representatives from each of the three regional organizations.
The day-to-day administration of IARU affairs is a responsibility of the International Secretariat.