“Formation of a Committee to Find an Executive Director”
A Motion to be Considered at the Dec18 Board Meeting
This motion forms
a committee to find an Executive Director.
Material below explains why it is felt that NCF can afford an Executive
cash expenses, including modems, internet fees, and compensation for a three
person model (Executive Director, Office Manager, System Administrator) are
expected to be $220K in 2001, and NCF is expected to start 2001 with $40K in
the bank. Do members want the benefits
of a three person model, and are they willing to fund it? Is there a credible plan with manageable
risk that could raise at least $190K in 2001, preferably $220K or more? If so, it is reasonable to search for an
Executive Director to lead the organization.
If not, some other organizational alternative must be used until the
organization can get back its strength.
preparation for this discussion:
- NCF has been losing
about ½ its members per year – while costs are essentially fixed, total
revenue has declined (even though donations per member are strong and have
even improved). What caused
membership declines, and how easily could it be reversed? Could retention be improved? Could NCF
attract more members to make up for attrition?
- Why do existing members
donate? What could be done to earn
even more donations?
- What has NCF done in
the past to raise donations (directly and indirectly)? What worked? (What has not worked?)
Refer to analysis by Chris Cope.
- How do members feel
about more services (and more donations)?
Refer to February
that while about 2/3 of members may not be opposed to a fee (see February
2000 survey), there is thought to be substantial benefit to NCF (and thus
to members) to remain donation-based.
ways to raise donations:
- Introduce new services
that would earn donations to make up the shortfall. Several exciting services are planned
for 2001, including webmail and thin client. These are expected to publicize NCF and attract new members.
- Introduce “non-modem”
accounts (eg., email services and web pages), to serve people who already
have internet access but would enjoy association with NCF and support its
work. This might appeal to people
with internet access at offices but who want private email service and web
- Introduce a “Friends of
NCF” program to facilitate donations from people who would like to support
NCF’s charitable activities but don’t need internet access or services.
- Members expect guidance
from NCF about what to donate to keep NCF operating. The simplest way to increase donations
is to explain to members why more donations would make sense, if even only
temporarily (ie., until number of members can be returned to previous
levels). This could be
accomplished by better communications with members to explain what NCF is
about, and changes to the donation guidance, such as:
- Return to the ‘minimum
contribution’ guidance (where members are asked to support NCF by either
donations or effort). The renewal
revenue forecast for 2001 predicts this alone (no other changes to NCF)
would generate sufficient donations to end the year with a cash surplus
- Increase the current
donation recommendation. Ignoring
the intangible values NCF provides to society, an estimate
of the value of NCF's dial-up services suggests that NCF’s access is
worth more. Here is a renewal
revenue forecast at $6/month, only $2/month more than in 2000.
To implement a change of renewals, the renewal cycle
could be suspended immediately to give time (eg., a month) to develop and get
feedback on changes, and to introduce new services and plans that would
increase the confidence of members in the value of NCF. Good communication is the key.
- Ultimately, it is up to
the members, who own NCF, to support NCF, so it is entirely appropriate to
rely on members as the last resort. That’s why NCF can take reasonable
risks (especially, perhaps, if members perceive that an honest effort
was made and are sympathetic).
Members have come to rescue NCF when called upon in the past.
changing the guidance in the renewal letter to that which was used successfully
several years ago may be sufficient to cover expenses in 2001. Additionally, there are the other
donation-earning items above. With a
contingency plan also, it seem quite reasonable to proceed with finding an
Executive Director to make it all happen.
the organization that would give members the best results, and that there
likely is a credible way to fund it, the next step is to find someone to lead
the organization. That person will be
guided by NCF’s focus for 2001 and the rough plan sketched out above. Working out the details of the plan will be
the person’s first job. Candidates and
the interviewing team will evaluate together whether the candidate has what it
takes to make a plan and execute it successfully.
an ED in place, board members can return to governing the organization, knowing
that there is a single person in charge working a plan, and members and the
community can look forward to the benefits.
Not bad, for only $6 per month!
of a good candidate should be listed, and might include:
- someone excited by the
NCF vision, what NCF could be, and by the challenge and scope of
responsibility of leading it there
- strong people &
- internet literate (as a
user), and at least some knowledge internet technology
- able to inspire
supporters, sponsors, members, and partners
- several years of
experience in a similar role (experience is the best predictor of success)
candidates will be attracted by a challenging description of the job and by its
unique potential and exciting scope, and may be willing to settle for a lower
compensation level than they might find in other lesser opportunities.
IT RESOLVED that:
- a Search Committee be
formed to find a person capable of performing the Executive Director role;
- the Committee be
comprised of Sandy Campbell (chair) and Seline Herz-Fischler (chosen for
their experience with interviewing) and one or two other people from the
community recruited for experience with interviewing and recruiting;
- a job description,
estimate of associated expenses (including staff support), and a timeline
be developed and circulated to the Board;
- the start date be as
soon as possible;
- compensation to be no
more than for the Executive Director in 2000;
- regular reports be
issued by the Committee to the Board; and
- before an offer is
made, the package to be approved by the Board.