The collective affairs of the Bahá’í community are administered by democratically elected councils at the local, regional, national and international levels. The foundation of this system was laid out in the writings of Bahá’u’lláh.
The Bahá’í Faith has no clergy. Authority is vested in the elected institutions, rather than with the individuals who serve as their members. Elections take place by secret ballot in a spirit of prayer and reflection, without any form of electioneering or nomination.
In the system of Bahá’í community administration, there are Local Spiritual Assemblies, Regional Bahá’í Councils, and National Spiritual Assemblies. Each are elected annually, and registered Bahá’ís over 21 years of age may vote and be voted for.
The Universal House of Justice is the international governing body of the Bahá’í world community, and its nine members are elected every five years by the entire membership of National Assemblies from around the world.
An important dimension of administration is the development of material resources to advance community life. Supporting the funds of the community is considered to be a privilege for Bahá’ís. All contributions to these funds are strictly voluntary and confidential and are accepted only from registered members. The use of coercion or manipulation to solicit funds is not permitted.