Number of National Officers and Size & Election of National Board: Additional Items to Consider

THESE PROPOSALS ARE TO DISCUSS CONCEPTS ONLY.  ACTUAL LANGUAGE WILL BE DRAFTED AT A LATER TIME.

Watch the webinar recording for Number of National Officers and Size & Election of National Board.

We encourage you to use both the PowerPoint presentations for both Number of National Officers and Size & Election of National Board, as well as the Structure Modernization Discussion Guide, to help facilitate conversations in your networks.  


 Qualifications for Running for Board:

Experience and Skills

  • Current Bylaws:
    • “Any NOW member who has been a member in good standing for at least two years immediately prior to the date of election shall be eligible to serve on the National Board. Board members must remain residents of the region from which elected in order to remain on the Board.”
  • How to ensure that a good balance of the following experience and skills are represented on the Board:
    • Feminist policy
    • Political organizing
    • Financial management or accounting
    • Fundraising
    • HR
    • Direct mail (paper, phone & online)
    • Digital strategy
    • IT
    • Graphic design
    • Marketing
    • Event planning
    • Legal / regulatory compliance
    • Nonprofit management

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5. Be creative and don’t be afraid to say what you think! It is vital that you share your opinions — in order to create the best proposals possible we need to know what all of the members think! This site is for YOU to have your voices heard.

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15 thoughts on “Number of National Officers and Size & Election of National Board: Additional Items to Consider

  1. Thank- you for all the replies and comments. I have read them all and each has it’s own merit. I do agree NOW’s mentoring needs a push, and i would like to have 1/3 board elected each term with 3 year terms. It would be great if our elected board members came fully aware of how NOW functions, but right now this isn’t the case. It takes brand new national board members about one full year to learn how National NOW’s operations work. Understanding the difference between c-4, c-3,PAC, budget, etc., plus this past year the national board only worked on the restructuring, so our committees were not formed. Alot happened this year, and I’m very satisfied with all in input, suggestions and willingness to work this project, which was shown through your participation on this website.

    Thank-you again
    Gilda Yazzie,

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  2. I think that the skills and experiences listed are indeed important to running a non-profit organization. Certainly, it is difficult to bring all these skills and experiences together to the board at one time. However, I think that this is where mentoring and the leadership pipeline come in. I know members who have skills from this list. I know other people from the general public who have some of these skills, live the core values of NOW, and could potentially be members. To help mentor them and build their leadership skills (or interest them in membership), I’m sure these people would value opportunities to use their skills to help NOW. I’m sure many would be flattered to even be asked for their help! 🙂

    I know everyone’s busy and have many items on their agendas, but maybe we can encourage chapters to do an optional skills inventory — a short survey to find out if their own members have any special skills that they want to share. This may help do our local actions even better and help members feel engaged and included. We can maximize our potential by using our members’ skills.

    I also think that a necessary part of this mentoring and leadership development process would be hearing from long-time members and how they have helped make change happen. (I’m thinking like informal coffee and conversation at the local level.) As a 20-something feminist, I’d really like to hear about how members have fought for change in the past. I think that hearing these stories can help make people think “I can do that too!”

    So, in short, I thinking learning about/using our members’ skills in conjunction with sharing personal experiences can help us build mentoring relationships and the leadership pipeline. By working on these things, at least informally, I hope we can encourage more interest in the board and bring in people who have a diverse array of skills, experiences, and qualities.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have been encouraging my chapter members to review all proposals and provide their own suggestions. One that I’ve received is that national board members should be drawn from those who are chapter presidents or members of their state board. This would ensure that they have experience with NOW’s operation, as well as leadership experience. I think it’s worth consideration.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Judi Polson, NOW-NYC:
    This is a follow-up to the Mach 18 Themes and Resolutions Webinar.

    It was observed at this webinar that officers are elected for 4-year terms, and Board members for 2-year terms, with a 2-term limit (after sitting out for 1 term, a Board member can return). Hence there is often more continuity with the officers than with the Board. This seems a bit odd; also, it has been observed to create inefficiencies when a large proportion of new Board members are elected.

    At the webinar, there was interest in:
    1) Instituting staggered terms so that only 1/3 of the Board would be up for election at a time.
    2) Lengthening Board terms.

    I think staggered terms are a very good idea; I have to think through lengthening the terms.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with Gay, and think it would be a great idea to have officers located in other state and work remotely! I might even raise my hand to do it, smiles.

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  6. Some have stated that they believe we need more officers. I agree with them. I am married (in IL) to the action vp, Bonnie Grabenhofer so my comments reflect my experience as her partner and long-time NOW member. I am from Illinois and live both there and in Maryland.
    I think we should elect more officers so that each officer does less and there are more opportunities for leadership growth. Staff are nice but they should not be implementing policy decisions and developing NOW actions, talking points, …. without guidance from a NOW officer. When we get down to two officers I feel we are in danger of loosing the link to NOW feminism.
    I do think there should be a person who manages the office and staff so that officers can be officers without being concerned about copier contracts and office supplies.
    As for salaries I think we ask much of officers and believe me I was very surprised when Bonnie started.I should have known about the expectations because we also expect a lot of chapter and state presidents. I was both. But in Illinois when I was President we had more officers so we could distribute the work and I think do it fairly well. Plus I didn’t have to move across country and maintain two households to do it. But alas I digress.
    What if we had more officers but some of them worked remotely? We might also look at some staff working on contract and remotely. Looking beyond the beltway would decrease salary requirements and give us a larger candidate pool thus more diversity of experience.
    Locating officers and contract folks in the states would put more resources close to chapters and provide more diversity in fund raising approaches.
    I do believe that raising revenue and membership is the only way to grow. I believe we can do that but probably not by focusing on one source through one company.

    Gay E. Bruhn, Ed.D. Illinois and Maryland

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    • Karen — I was thinking about this too. I don’t think there is any reason you can’t start a CR group in your area. I was considering finding the materials (online somewhere) and offering it through the local community college. Many of our members, back in the day, took it through the community college.
      I don’t think the group can be focused like you suggested. I am fairly certain focus comes from the members of the particular group.

      Gay E. Bruin, EdD, Illinois and Maryland

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      • I actually belong to a CR group that meets virtually in a Google Hangout. It is really fun and encourages dialogue with younger members of the group who are really not familiar with the CR concept that so many of us were a part of.

        Marian Bradley
        NW Regional Director

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  7. Qualifications

    The current qualifications are inadequate in length. Requiring a total of 4 years as a member 2 years of which were as a chapter or state Officer or state wide issues Chair would insure that candidates are more experienced in the NOW world.

    Skills Set
    I am not sure how we can ensure that any elected political entity can possess a particular skill set. If the Board is to be elected than it is the responsibility of the electorate to decide if the candidates can do the job. Further I can’t imagine that the list will work its way into the bylaws. It might become part of the record of what we were thing about so I’d like to make some additions.

    CR Facilitation – Given that I came late to this process I may be beating a dead horse but regretfully that doesn’t always stop me. In the 60’s and 70’s just about every chapter offered CR groups. In many ways we were small isolated groups trying to figure out this feminist thing. We talked, we read, we marched. I believe we out grew the CR process as we became more political. Which is fine. Growth and change are important and part of any healthy organism.

    That said, I think that it is time and that this work gives us the opportunity to talk about bringing back CR as an important part of Chapter life. If we think that’s a good idea then adding CR Facilitation to the skill set wanted on the Board.

    Feminist philosophy – I simply can’t imagine a NOW Board of Directors without a philosopher.

    Medical Background – So many of our issues involve medical issues that experience in the field would be good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree about the skill sets. I learned many of those listed as a National Board member. To bad the only one that came in handy in the workplace was direct mail lists and I really disliked that job.

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  8. JOCELYN MORRIS, CHAIR, RACISM COMMITTEE, MISSOURI AT-LARGE MEMBER:
    I think the number of officers should remain the same. The VP Membership works more on major donors then Membership recruitment. We can save money by reducing the number of board members to two per region and suggest they file their slots with diverse candidates.

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