Number of National Officers: Proposal Two

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 the PowerPoint presented at the webinar and the Structure Modernization Discussion Guide to help facilitate conversations in your networks.  


 Keep the number of officers the same (President, VP Action, VP Membership) but lower officer salaries:

  • Lower salaries to better fit the budget and duties
  • No senior staff; responsibilities taken on by officers

Pros:

  • Save on salaries for senior level staff
  • Three national officers retained

Cons:

  • With turnover of officers, key relationships need to be rebuilt
  • Officers may not have specialized skill sets for specific roles
  • Lower salaries may discourage skilled, qualified activists from running for office
  • Lower salaries and the policy of not paying for a move may limit the willingness of activists from outside the DC metro area to run for office thus limiting the pool of potential candidates

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20 thoughts on “Number of National Officers: Proposal Two

  1. Hi Everyone,
    I like the 2 officers model, for the reminder of the current term. I feel strongly, about letting Terri and Bonnie carry out the management duties of National NOW until the next election. They have pulled NOW along the path of recovery by sure will power. How soon, that…, we have forgotten that rebates were donated to NOW or, salaries were reduced or not paid until later, and payment plans were implemented to keep NOW afloat.
    Remember the reason we are doing the modernization is because NOW was not functioning well or as well as can be.
    At this point with 2 years left for this administration, we should consider allowing Terri and Bonnie to staff the National office as we need. Not be forced into selecting a new third POC officer.. Yes, yes yes.., the diversity issue will be a factor. NOW feels strongly on diversity of officers, most would consider NOW not to be P.C., if there was not a POC in leadership role.

    I feel differently about this issue. At this point, diversity of officers, i agree with, but starting at the next election cycle. Terri, and Bonnie need to right the ship, with the next two years. Let them continue.
    Let them get our house in order. And at the next election, have a full diverse set of officers. This would avoid the burn out of another well qualified POC officer. And by the way, are in very short supply.

    The National board will set the salary before the next election, let your board member know to reduced it.

    Thanks to everyone, the input has been wonderful, and has made me think, really hard.

    Gilda Yazzie , South Central, National Board Member.

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  2. PA NOW prefers the 3 officer structure to the other proposals. With three officers, there’s always a tie-breaker. The ED model changes the character of the organization too drastically. However, we have to find a way to retain senior staff, so that all the responsibilities of running a national organization are not heaped upon just three people. That’s a recipe for disaster. Definitely should lower officer salaries (should be more proportional between officers/staff) but add in incentives/bonuses – that’s a good idea. Probably not all staff (officers included) needs to live in DC. One of our members suggested something that used to be done a while back – offer 6 months room/board/stipends to volunteers to come to DC and help out at the national office.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is my “thinking outside of the box”, but I’m throwing it out for what it is worth. What if we hired a development director/office manager who is stationed in our D.C. office. We could continue to have 3 officers (I am now leaning towards 3 which is a change from what I said previously), with the President being “the voice of NOW”, and still have membership and action VP’s. None of the officers would have to move to D.C.. Pay would be much lower for the officers, but the Pres may have significant travel expenses. The officers would have no office responsibilities so they could devote their time to membership development. Part of the development director/office manager’s compensation could be based on measured performance. This would allow the VP’s to work more closely with local and state chapters, and free the Pres to really be “out there”. I think membership would increase and $$ would flow in more because people would see that NOW, both locally and nationally really does things (I am sometimes asked if NOW really does anything anymore; people say they used to hear about it a lot, but no longer do). And somebody devoting at least 50% of her time to development should help significantly.

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  4. Hi Everyone, right now the national board sets the salary, we set it before the next election, so everyone who wants to run knows the pay rate. So the board can cut the salary without any bi-laws change, before the election, it’s good for the term. The problem with this method is most times the newer board members get generous, with the pay, and raise it. It would be a better process if this was a secret ballot to vote on salary. Then their wouldn’t be peer pressure in voting.

    With the salary, we should find out if benefits are being taken out of their pay or are we adding that in as an extra.

    I like 2 officers, with more senior staff (with better pay). NOW would benefit greatly if we started mentoring in additional senior staff. The thinkers. We really need those people to do the hard thinking for us volunteers. The senior staff must include a development person.

    On the topic of having to move to D.C. to be an officer, maybe in the future if National NOW keeps reenforcing use of technology, internet, maybe a rotating Western White House, working from home thing can work out part time. Part DC, part at home.

    Co-Chairs, so if one has to take care of personal stuff the other one can do meetings as an equal.

    The input i have been getting (since I’m the chair of this topic, and people would rather chat than type)
    is;
    Most like 3 officers, due to breaking a tie vote, plus having a spare. Regions, most like their regions because they are use to the people and have working relationships. Maybe on this go to 2 board members per region. Would still get a smaller board.

    I’m leaning towards the 6 regions model.
    Thanks gilda yazzie

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  5. Has the option of having the officers elected in different years, so that one rotates out each year, been considered?

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      • I have disliked the slate idea ever since I heard of it in the 90’s. Officers should be able to work with everyone within the organization s they can represent us all outside of NOW.

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  6. Three officers are necessary. I like the idea of building in some bonuses if net income/membership increases.

    The first “con” is an issue related to having a turn-over of officers (term limits), not having 3 officers at lower salaries. The second “con” seems much more directed toward the question of whether to have an executive director than on how many officers to have.

    In my experience during 17 years as a natl officer, building relationships within NOW is more important than building relationships in D.C. NOW doesn’t–and in my opinion shouldn’t–necessarily fit in the DC advocacy culture, which is guided much more by professional managers whose principle interest is not stepping on too many toes so that they can be hired by another non-profit if they lose their current positions. NOW needs elected officers whose principle interest is advancing our feminist agenda and refusing to compromise out of fear of alienating more moderate organizations and individuals.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Theresa Bergen, Rokland NOW NY
    I forgot my info so I am reposting.
    Three officers is the minimum needed. Reducing the salaries of the officers by 25% could work but I believe that would only make sense if we revisit the policy of no paying people for the move. If we are to attract the best that NOW has to offer than we need to make it possible for people to move. A one time payment of $10,000 to 15,000 for elected officers would go a long way to making the move possible. I don’t remember the arguments against paying something towards the move and would appreciate hearing from those who oppose this.
    I strongly believe any saving should go toward hiring a development director and that we seriously consider basing that person in LA and NY where the money is.Having a person working major donors and planning events in DC just doesn’t make sense to me. In NY the NYC chapter has an office and during the ERA campaign they loaned National space. Anything like that in LA?
    Do we still have a robust College intern program? If not, it would be worth our while to investigate the programs in some of our chapters and states.
    A long time ago a bonus was built into officers salaries so that if membership increased their salaries would as well. There may have been a cap.
    Last but not least I am having very strong doubts about this process. About 140 people attended this Webinar. We ran over time. Lots of good things were said. I expected 100 post and a lively exchange of ideas out of which would grow some new proposals and the beginning of a consensus. Maybe because I came into the process late I’ve missed something. Is there some reason for the virtual silence?

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    Liked by 1 person

  8. Three officers is the minimum needed. Reducing the salaries of the officers by 25% could work but I believe that would only make sense if we revisit the policy of no paying people for the move. If we are to attract the best that NOW has to offer than we need to make it possible for people to move. A one time payment of $10,000 to 15,000 for elected officers would go a long way to making the move possible. I don’t remember the arguments against paying something towards the move and would appreciate hearing from those who oppose this.
    I strongly believe any saving should go toward hiring a development director and that we seriously consider basing that person in LA and NY where the money is.Having a person working major donors and planning events in DC just doesn’t make sense to me. In NY the NYC chapter has an office and during the ERA campaign they loaned National space. Anything like that in LA?
    Do we still have a robust College intern program? If not, it would be worth our while to investigate the programs in some of our chapters and states.
    A long time ago a bonus was built into officers salaries so that if membership increased their salaries would as well. There may have been a cap.
    Last but not least I am having very strong doubts about this process. About 140 people attended this Webinar. We ran over time. Lots of good things were said. I expected 100 post and a lively exchange of ideas out of which would grow some new proposals and the beginning of a consensus. Maybe because I came into the process late I’ve missed something. Is there some reason for the virtual silence?

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  9. I don’t particularly like the idea of having an Ex. Director, but one (or more ) of the problems with having elected members run NOW is that only those who are willing and have the resources to move to D.C. and who also have the NOW leadership requirements are eligible; this really limits those who are able and willing to serve. Having NOW leadership experience does not necessarily mean that one has the training and skill sets to run a national organization. Also, if an Ex. Dir. is not doing a good job she can be fired by the board; that is not true of an officer; we are stuck with an officer for 4 years unless the officer quits. These are things to consider. I’m really torn over the best way to approach this issue. Having elected officers run the organization is certainly much more “grassroots”, but not necessarily what is best for NOW.

    Nancy Mead
    NOW Board Member – NW Region

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    • Having NOW leadership experience is very important. It takes a few years and more than a few meetings to understand NOW’s history and all of the principles we hold dear.

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    • I am speaking personally, not on behalf of my chapter or state.

      I tend to agree with much of what Gilda has said. I like the idea of 2 officers and a development director (whose pay could at least partially reflect her success in raising money).

      I am very concerned about reducing salaries. As it is the only people even eligible to run to be an officer must have NOW board experience and be willing to move to D.C.. That is a very limited number of people, and there is nothing that requires any of them to have the skill set necessary to do the job well. I do not like the idea of an Executive Director, but there are a couple of advantages: 1) an ED is hired based on her proven skills. 2) if the ED does not do her job well she can be fired. Neither of these criteria are true for our officers, though hopefully they are elected at least partially based on their skills.

      There may be nothing wrong with how we are currently doing things other than we need to increase memberships and money. Restructuring may not achieve either of these.

      Nancy Mead
      President, Central Oregon Coast NOW
      NOW-Oregon Board Member
      NOW – National Board Member – NW Region

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  10. Hi Linda,
    I will have to think about this, but…i do worry about losing senior staff. due to pay, age, etc. we need our senior staff, and they need to be paid to think for us. Passing all the management duties to the officers, and senior staff is not the answer. Maybe we need an office staff manual so the basic office duties are done, so officers can spend time on NOW. ???
    thanks gilda yazzie

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This proposal makes the most sense to me. I don’t understand why the first 2 cons are any different than what happens under our current model. Can anyone explain what I’m missing? I agree with Steve, though, that I would want to keep executive and senior staff to the extent possible.

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  12. Yes, we should lower the salaries of the executives, but use the savings for keeping executive and senior staff. One of NOW purposes is to empower women, and reducing staff does not facilitate this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Steve, maybe salaries should be based on if they have to move to DC to work. right now, many won’t run for office due to living somewhere else and having to move to DC. Most people have lives
      and homes outside dc. so we are getting mainly those who are located at dc and or those who have someone to keep the housewhole going while they work for NOW.

      anyways thanks. gilda yazzie

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