For the 2018 Elections Season, the NAMI Board of Directors made some significant changes to the Elections process. This was done to better align NAMI with nonprofit best practices and in response to feedback from the NAMI grassroots. You can find additional information as your affiliate or state organization is considering bringing a candidate forward for service on the NAMI Board of Directors by reading the Guide to 2018 NAMI Elections.
Fairness in Process Policy
In December 2017, the NAMI Board of Directors updated 6.7 Election of Board Members of the Board Operating Policies and Procedures to reflect requests from the field about fairness in NAMI elections. They specifically added a Fairness in Process policy that addresses the concerns raised by many members after the election last year, and also adds an element requiring both nominators and candidates to acknowledge the new policy and their willingness to adhere to it.
2018 NAMI Board of Directors Open Letter to Membership
Each year, the NAMI Board issues an Open Letter to the membership as a call for nominations of candidates to the Board of Directors for the next fiscal year. This year, the board made some specific changes to the letter:
- The NAMI Board has undertaken a strengths assessment this year to identify current Board strengths as well as the areas of skill and experience most needed in 2018 to assist the board in realizing the vision and growth trajectory of the organization. The assessment revealed the following five areas of specific skill or experience important among candidates seeking board service this year:
- Financial Management and Investments, to ensure sound fiscal health
- Fund Raising and Donor Cultivation, to ensure NAMI’s future and ongoing viability
- Information Technology, to guide infrastructure development
- Legal expertise, to support fundamental governance responsibilities
- Criminal Justice, to inform decisions related to system interaction and change efforts
- For this first time this year, the NAMI Board will ask candidates to respond in writing specifically about their knowledge and expertise in these most highly-desired areas.
- The NAMI Board is making some changes to the annual election process this year to ensure sound and fair election practices and to encourage highly-qualified individuals to come forward for board service. Some of these changes include:
- Streamlined and simplified requirements for written statements to be presented to the voting membership.
- All degrees and professional certifications that candidates wish to include in their profiles for presentation to the voting membership will be subject to verification. Any information that cannot be externally validated will not be included in the candidate profile.
- Candidates will be submitted to a criminal background check. However, data forthcoming from a criminal background check will not disqualify an individual from board service. Results of the background check will remain confidential and will not be included in the candidate profile. For more details please refer to Election Information 2018.
- Revised nomination and candidate paperwork that commits nominators and candidates to make known any potential conflicts of interest, and verify (as nominators) or agree to uphold (as candidates) the ethics and confidentiality policies. These declarations historically have been part of board expectations and continue to be long-standing agreements which board members sign as they are seated on the board.
- Board recommendation of those candidates who are assessed as having the greatest potential to contribute skills and expertise currently needed to complement existing strengths on the board. All qualified candidates will stand for election, but all candidates may not receive a board recommendation.
Elections Information 2018
In addition to the changes the Open Letter, the Governance Committee has made the following changes in the Elections Information document for Nominators and Candidates:
- Changes for Nominators
- In addition to the letter of nomination, nominators must complete the Nomination Questionnaire. Nominators will be emailed a link to complete the online questionnaire once the nomination letter and meeting minutes have been received, and the candidate’s membership has been confirmed. The questionnaire is a new requirement for 2018 and must be completed before a nomination can be considered accepted. Please plan to spend up to one hour completing the questionnaire. The deadline for the nominating process to be complete is Sunday, April 1st at 11:59 pm ET.
- Changes for Candidates
- Candidate Credential Form
- confirming willingness to be the subject of a criminal background check and professional certification/educational verification
- committing to uphold the NAMI Board policy “Fairness in Process”
- supplying two references that can be contacted to speak on their knowledge of you personally and/or professionally
- Candidate Questionnaire
committing to disclosing for yourself and immediate family (spouse, civil or domestic partner, parents, dependent children, siblings) any employment, business or other financial interest that involves NAMI, any NAMI Affiliate or NAMI State Organization, or any other person or entity providing goods or services for payment that are related to mental health care