What's New for Nominators and Candidates

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. In addition to reiterating many of the changes made last year, this page also highlights areas of specific skill or experience important among candidates seeking board service this year.

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 2019 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.

2019 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 2019 to assist the board in realizing the vision and growth trajectory of the organization. The assessment revealed the following four areas of specific skill or experience important among candidates seeking board service this year. Detailed explanations of each area can be found in the Open Letter:
    • Diversity of age, race, ethnicity, language, experience and national geography
    • Knowledge of the philanthropic community and track record with donor cultivation
    • Experience with a variety of revenue models and financial oversight and management
    • Board governance and innovation
  • 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 made significant changes to the annual election process last year to ensure sound and fair election practices and to encourage highly-qualified individuals to come forward for board service. Each year, they will continue to improve this process. As a summary, these changes made last year and any new for 2019 are noted below:
    • New in 2019: An updated, current resume or curriculum vitae (CV) showing all relevant work and volunteer experience will be required. 
    • 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 Elections Information 2019.
    • 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 2019

To ensure that the changes implemented last year continue to be reinforced, they are again highlighted below and can be found in detail 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 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, March 24, 2019 at 11:59 pm ET.
  • Changes for Candidates
    • New in 2019: Submit an updated, current resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
    • 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”
    • 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