LAJF Board Membership Q&A

Did you know that you can nominate candidates or self-nominate for the LAJF Board. This Q&A hopes to provide an overview of what it means to be a Director on the LAJF Board and how to apply.

Q:  What are your areas of expertise?

A:  Unlike universities and large non-profits, LAJF has a very small staff making it dependent on Directors and other volunteers for expertise in many areas.  We try to have a mix of various kinds of expertise among our Directors, including:  general management, finance, investments, strategic planning, education or youth development, CRS Program, alumni relations, communications/marketing, audit, fundraising, CRS selection, physical infrastructure, data analysis, corporate governance, legal, and medical.  See attached chart showing the mix of expertise of our current Directors for areas that could be strengthened.  We especially seek candidates with fundraising, alumni relations, and communications expertise.

Q:  What demographics do you add as representative of the CRS community?

Learning from people that are different from us is integral to CRS’ Mission.  The 17 current LAJF Directors come from 7 different racial/ethnic backgrounds, 6 decades of Camp, 10 states, 2 European countries, 4 are women, 2 are LGBTQ, plus other forms of diversity.  The attached chart also shows this demographic mix.  More women, more religious diversity, and non-U.S./European representatives are areas we would particularly like to grow.

Q:  What are the responsibilities of being a Director?

LAJF expects its directors to attend most Board meetings (in person or telephonically), to be active on 1-2 committees, to keep well-informed about operations, and to make LAJF one of their top philanthropic causes.

Fiduciary Duties of New York Not-for-Profit Director (Board Member) are described on the New York Attorney General Charities Bureau’s website

Particularly instructive is the “What Are the Duties of Boards of Directors?” section (pp. 4-7) from the “Right from the Start:  Responsibilities of Directors of Not-For-Profit Corporations” pamphlet, which describes the Directors’ Duty of Care, Duty of Loyalty, and Duty of Obedience. 

Click here to see short biographies of our current Directors, to give you a sense of the caliber of individuals on our Board. 

Q:  What is the time commitment?

The LAJF Board meets quarterly, typically for around 4 hours, but may have additional 1 hour conference calls in between meetings if issues arise requiring more immediate discussion.  Time commitment for committees varies considerably and may have a peak time of year.  Most Directors estimated they averaged 2 hours/week on LAJF activity, while those who were also officers averaged 3-7 hours/week – as reported on our latest Form 990.

Q:  Do I have to be “rich” to be on the Board?

No.  The Board Giving Policy is aspirational and one of “give or gather”, saying in part: 

“We cannot ignore the important role that Board members play in supporting our organization. It is common in the not for profit world that the Board is able to give or get 30% of the annual funds raised. To this end, we would expect Board members to have a personal aspirational goal of contributing directly or through contacts $10,000 a year. Fundraising is an important responsibility of a Board and the amount one donates is necessarily a personal and private decision but one's contribution should be personally significant and meaningful even if it falls short of the $10,000 to which we hope all will aspire. Board members also will be expected to be active participants in the Foundation’s fundraising efforts.”

Q:  What if I am uncomfortable with fundraising?

Most of us are, but it gets easier with practice.  Your Passion for CRS is contagious and is the best fundraising asset anyone can have.  Start with people you know.  Consider asking your family and friends to give to LAJF rather than giving you gifts at holidays or paying for some services you may provide to them.  Volunteer to be a co-Sachem for fundraising from your fellow Campers.  LAJF has a format for setting up your personal fundraising page.  Maybe start by encouraging monthly smaller deductions from the person’s bank account and follow up about increases in subsequent years.  LAJF will also provide you with tips, instructions, role-playing opportunities, and a list of prospects to contact.

Q:  How do I apply or nominate someone else?

Please send the name(s) to Helene Mattera (hmattera@lajf.org) with a brief description of why the person would make a strong LAJF Director.  If you are applying, please also provide a copy of your Resume and a Statement of Interest, addressing such subjects as: your depth of familiarity with CRS, any service on other boards, fundraising ability, business experience/acumen, education, demonstrated leadership and follow-through, and what LAJF committee(s) are you most interested in serving on and why.

Q:  What happens next?

Names are submitted to the Committee on Governance, which will screen and prioritize them based on the current needs. The most fitting prospects are contacted about interest and time availability.  If they agree to be nominated, further information is gathered, including references from at least two individuals within the CRS community.  The Committee on Governance then nominates the individual and forwards its nomination with supporting material to the Members Advisory Council (MAC), consisting of individuals with vast CRS experience.  The MAC meets quarterly to consider nominees for election to the Board and other advisory matters.  Only the MAC can elect LAJF Directors, under our Bylaws.

 

 

Photo: April Board Meeting at WeWork Headquarters arranged generously by Stella Templo '95