Expectations of Directors of the Board of the Social Justice Co-operative
The Board of Directors of the Social Justice Co-operative is a 9-person board responsible for ensuring the fiscal, legal, political, operational and administrative health of the organization. The focus of the board role is on building the capacity of the co-operative to sustain the operations of action teams, working groups, and other campaigns. While board members are not required to lead or participate in action teams, working groups, or other campaigns; occasional appearances at meetings of these groups are always welcome.
The SJCNL board is a working board. This means that our board members work as unpaid staff for the nonprofit co-op since we do not yet have the financial resources to hire professional staff in most day-to-day positions. However, the SJCNL board is also a governing board, one that provides the leadership for the co-operative, consults with members and volunteers to shape strategic direction and co-operative policies, as well as provides financial oversight and ensures adequate resources for expenditures.
Key responsibilities that our board fills on a monthly basis:
- taking a leadership role in equity initiatives
- keeping up to date financial records and maintaining synchronicity with the Co-operatives Act
- maintaining the website and social media accounts
- managing internal and external communications
- reviewing, discussing, and approving new spending decisions or financial commitments
- hosting monthly membership meetings
- reviewing and approving membership applications
- discussing any issues arising from organizing activities that could have legal implications for the co-operative, its board of directors, its staff, its membership, and its volunteers
- overseeing the work of the SJC staff and supporting SJC staff in their work
- reviewing and discussing proposed partnerships with other organizations
- developing policy and other proposals for the consideration of members and volunteers
While contributing to these collective responsibilities, there are individual expectations on each board member. Generally, it is expected that each board member:
- Participate in a monthly board meeting. This usually requires reading agendas ahead of time, and preparing for any topics to which you will be required to speak
- Participate in e-mail conversations on a weekly basis. In between monthly board meetings, the board does conduct some important conversations and decisions over e-mail. Board members can expect to have to reply to such e-mails 2-3 times per week.
- Attend a minimum of 4 monthly general membership meetings per annum. These are open to all members, and a key opportunity for members to raise and discuss matters of importance to them. Board participation in these meetings gives board members a full understanding of the issues and realities of our members and volunteers, ensuring board activity is representative and supportive.
- Assume at least one ongoing board responsibility. Each board member should take on some responsibility, outside of participation in meetings, in a least one portfolio area. Co-chair positions require extensive board coordination and staff liaising, as well as internal and external portfolios of responsibility, and the organization/facilitation of one co-operative committee (such as the equity team or the activities fund committee). Only the secretary and treasurer roles undertake daily and weekly tasks; as a result, these two roles do not entail organization/facilitation of a co-operative committee.
Other portfolios may include:
education and training
governance and policy
membership recruitment, onboarding, and support
Altogether, board members can expect the time commitment of all of the above to be at least 16+ hours per month. This is not a hard rule, and rather an estimate to help board members set expectations.