Information on Volunteering
The following information is provided by the FGNA Board, staff, and Nominating Committee as a resource for FGNA members contemplating volunteering within the Guild. Here are the answers to your most frequently asked questions about volunteer positions.
This Q&A was developed by the Board of Directors in 2010 and revised September 2017.
Q. How much time will I need to commit?
A. The total amount of time varies. Here is a rough outline of time commitments:
1. The Board meets on telephone at least once per month for 2 hours. Board members commit to reading the materials sent online several days in advance.
keeping this project moving, and reporting to each Board meeting (written, preferred). Project time can be 2-10 hours per month (or as needed).
3. Email communications between Board members can be as few as one per day, or as high as 20. Board members commit to reading e-mails daily (except in exceptional circumstances, such as being on holiday, illness, etc.) and to respond as needed.
4. Board Retreats. There may be two Board retreats, one mid-year for 4 days, and one that lasts 3 days after the Conference. This does not include travel time.
Q: What technology is required?
A: Having a computer, email address, and access to high-speed internet is required. Also, using Word and an ability to read spreadsheets is valuable. Skills in using internet-based tools are an asset, or the new board member will need to learn. Long distance calls can be augmented by a good calling plan or use of Skype.
Q: How will I learn how to be a "good" Board member?
A: We try to "buddy" new Board members with more seasoned ones. We all appreciate that there is a steep "learning curve" at the beginning. We also have online documents to help orient new Board members.
Q: Will I be reimbursed for travel to retreats?
A: The Guild is still on an austerity program and so every cost is monitored closely. The Board provides leadership in many ways, including symbolic actions such as taking responsibility for some personal expenses. Our general approach for many years has been for FGNA to reimburse travel and lodging for Board members, but not food.
Q: Can I be a member of the FGNA Board if I am on another Board?
A: It is true that those who are more deeply involved in the Feldenkrais® world are often involved in several ways. This is seldom a problem.
Board members need at the outset to declare involvements where a potential for conflict of interest might come up. This is normally done at the time new Board members are seated, and on a regular basis thereafter. Board members also need to inform the Board when any issue comes up which might produce a conflict. If this is sufficient to be a real problem (or if any other Board member feels that there is a problem), then they would usually withdraw from voting on such an issue. It would be rare for a Board member to have to recuse themselves from the discussion, so long as any potential conflict is stated up front.
Q: There is an option for a “Public” member on the Board. What is the purpose? Have we ever had one?
A: The Bylaws allow the Board to appoint one Public Member to the Board. Some non-profit organizations have public members on their Board, especially when the organization has a special public benefit, such as the United Way. We have been advised that public members can be very helpful when they have specific expertise. As of July 2017, FGNA has its first Public Member on the Board!
Q: Can I be a member of the FGNA Board if I am a trainee, or not a member of FGNA?
A: Trainees and nonmembers are not eligible for the member-elected seats on the Board. The provision for Public Member eligibility for appointment to the Board may apply. (see above)
Q: What is specified in our bylaws about the role of the Board of Directors?
A: Article 4 outlines the primary functions of the Board:
· Act in trusteeship for the membership;
· Serve as an official connection between the membership and FGNA;
· Develop explicit governing policies in the following areas: Ends (goals), Executive limitation, Board-Executive Relationship, and Board Process;
· Define the authority and responsibilities of administrative services of FGNA;
o Appoint, either by contract or employment, an administrator, executive director or other such individual providing such services to carry out the administration of FGNA
o Confer to the administrator or executive director the power of selecting, discharging or suspending employee(s);
o Assure the administrator’s or executive director's performance in relation to the Board's policies;
· Assign specific duties for Directors and Officers in carrying out their responsibilities;
· Monitor its own process and performance;
· Establish committees and boards as necessary for governance; and define the purpose, policies, and activities of such committees and boards;
· Make appointments to fill vacancies on the Board or on any FGNA committee;
· Preside over member or certified practitioner expulsion and certification removal proceedings;
· Designate the number and boundaries of FGNA Regions based on the geographical distribution of members; and
· Perform other duties as specified elsewhere in these bylaws or in parliamentary procedure.
(from Bylaws dated July 10, 2012)
Q: What is specified in our bylaws about the number of Directors on the Board of Directors?
A: There shall be a minimum of seven and a maximum of nine Directors. Seven Directors who are Professional Members shall be elected by Voting Members: Six shall be elected by all Voting Members; and one shall be elected by Voting Members residing in Canada.
The Board may appoint up to two additional Directors: One must be a Professional Member, and one may be a Professional Member or a Public Member.
Q: How long is the term of office?
A: Article 4 also defines the term: two years. Elections are held in the third quarter of the year, and Board members take office in January of the following year. They serve as non-voting Directors-Elect until the third quarter of that year. This gives them time to learn the scope of the Guild’s activities, and the processes of the Board and staff.
Q: Can a Director stay longer than one term?
A: There are no limits on the number of terms that a Director may serve. Many Directors find that they are just getting into particular themes and projects near the end of their first term and look forward to running again.
Q: What is the length of the term for Nominating Committee?
A: Nominating Committee members serve either a two-year appointed term or a three-year elected term.
Q: What is the time commitment?
A: The committee works from February/March to July/August of a given year, depending on the time of the annual meeting, at which the Nominating Committee selections are presented to the Board and membership. One hour phone meetings are conducted every 2-3 weeks. In between meetings, members network to find potential nominees by making lots of phone calls, writing e-mails, or networking in person at Advanced Trainings or other meetings of members of the Feldenkrais community.
Q: What are the skills required to serve on the Nominating Committee?
A: These individuals must enjoy talking with people and be willing and able to network within the Feldenkrais community.
In the event that questions, concerns or problems arise, FGNA provides an advocacy process by, and for, members if regular channels fail. A pool of easily accessible and qualified Member Advocates are elected by the membership. They are impartial fact-finders, problem-solvers and resource brokers. While professional, impartial and fair in carrying out their task they are, first and foremost, Member Advocates and will approach every problem from this essential perspective.
More information about the position which interests you may be obtained by calling one of the volunteers currently serving in that position.
I WANT TO VOLUNTEER. WHAT DO I DO NOW?
Please contact the Guild to nominate yourself for one of the above positions.
To contact the Guild, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.