GCSRW is one of 13 general agencies of The United Methodist Church and is financed through the World Service Fund (apportioned giving from local congregations). The commission is accountable to the General Conference, the church's chief law-making body, and is a member of the Connectional Table, which coordinates the program and administrative life of churchwide agencies.
The commission is governed by a 19-member board of directors representing annual conferences across the United States and in the Philippines, Norway, Liberia and Mozambique. Commission bylaws stipulate that the board president must be a woman, and clergy and lay persons must be equally represented in agency leadership. The 2016-20 officers are Bishop Tracy Smith Malone, president and Rev. Cathy Mitchell, vice-president.
General Secretary Dawn Wiggins Hare and commission staff work from offices in the historic Chicago Temple, the skyscraper home of First United Methodist Church of Chicago, the oldest church in the city.