How to Elect a Board of Directors Which Will Best Work for Your Chapter or Special-Interest Affiliate

compiled by Ardis Bazyn, ACB membership co-chair

At the recent California convention, the CCB membership committee sponsored a breakfast seminar on this topic. Members attending discussed how to get the best people for chapter and affiliate board positions. We developed the following list of recommendations.

  • Have candidates write a statement saying why they would be best for the job.
  • Outlining job responsibilities before asking possible candidates to give statements.
  • The nominating committee chooses a slate based on how each available member could handle each position.
  • Allowing time during voting meeting or prior month to give summary of their abilities.
  • Asking candidates to answer questions for either a Candidates' Page or to read prior to the voting meeting.
  • Having Candidates' Forum a month ahead to state position.
  • Providing materials to other chapter members about statements.
  • Providing training for members who have not served previously but are willing to learn.

One concern expressed was what can a chapter do if capable people are not willing or not available to run? It may be difficult at times to know if a member would be able to handle a particular position. If a member who had handled a position earlier could assist as a mentor, a newer member might offer to run. Other officers could switch parts of the job if an aspect of the position is of concern. Sometimes, members aren't aware of responsibilities and would be more likely to volunteer if a mentor agreed to work with them.
A co-president, co-secretary, co-treasurer position might work. Also, you could eliminate an unnecessary position like second vice president.  If a smaller chapter doesn't have the necessary people to fill the positions, positions could be combined so fewer positions are needed, such as secretary-treasurer. A change of your constitution might be needed to make these changes.

Future ACB Membership Focus Calls

The next ACB membership focus call will be held on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014 at 5 p.m. Pacific/8 p.m. Eastern. The topic will be "Creative ways to meet, especially in rural areas." The April call will be held on Monday, April 21 at 5:30 p.m. Pacific/8:30 p.m. Eastern. The topic will be "What leadership training has your affiliate provided to members?" If you have questions about membership, feel free to contact the ACB membership committee, co-chairs Ardis Bazyn and Cindy Van Winkle. As stated in our last article in "The ACB Braille Forum," we would like to hear from Spanish-speaking members interested in assisting us in finding new members who speak Spanish.