Governance

NASCO's governance structure provides its members an effective means to direct the group-equity co-op movement, at the same time allowing support for specific initiatives. NASCO's educational programs, as well as strategic directions, are overseen by a Board of Directors that is comprised of up to 19 members, 12 of whom are elected at-large for 3-year terms on a staggered basis; 1 of whom serves as Active Member Representative, elected by the Active Members at the NASCO Institute each year; another of whom is selected by the NASCO Properties Board; and 3 of whom are member caucus chairpeople. The Board of Directors is composed of NASCO members and alumni, people who are active in co-ops and the cooperative movement, and people with expertise in the nonprofit sector.
 
The NASCO Board of Directors and NASCO Staff at the Spring 2017 board meeting in Boston, MA.
 
We are now accepting nominations to run for NASCO’s Board of Directors!
 
2017-2018 Elections Timeline
We have designed the timeline to give member co-ops sufficient time both during nominations and balloting to utilize whatever process they desire for these decisions. In order to ensure that this purpose is achieved, we will be strict on our deadlines. 
 
October 2, 2017 - Nominations open, read the Board Position Description
November 3, 2017 - Deadline for Nomination Forms (Active Member Form, Associate Member Form, or Individual Member Form) to be signed and submitted and Candidate Statements submitted (see below)
November 4, 2017 - Candidate statements become available. Read them here!
November 10-12, 2017 - NASCO Institute: a forum for members to ask questions of board candidates will be held at the AGM
January 12, 2018 - Deadline to submit completed ballots
January 19, 2018 - Results announced
 
The NASCO board seeks a composition that equips it with the skills and perspectives necessary to effectively evaluate issues that the organization faces. This may relate to professional or educational background, types of cooperative experiences, or shared or hidden identities. Additionally, board members rely on each other to properly govern NASCO, and so the role requires availability, commitment, and flexibility with other responsibilities. 
 
The following are areas of unique concern in assessing the skills and identities of potential NASCO board nominees for the upcoming year:
  • We currently have no members that are employees at a member cooperative. The board hopes to attract member staff to bring their professional experience as well as their ability to consider implications of organizational decisions that may be less clear to individuals that have not played that role in a cooperative before. 
  • The board aims to be composed of individuals who have experience with and consideration for cooperative diversity, whether it be through their personal identities or their work and experiences. The board benefits when its members can speak confidently on issues that relate to race, ability, gender identity, class, and other identity characteristics of our cooperative community. Furthermore, the board seeks to maintain some measure of gender parity, ensure adequate representation from the cooperative community of Canada, and attract governance participation from cooperative organizations of varying sizes. 
  • The NASCO board anticipates taking on more responsibilities relating to cooperative development soon and is seeking board members from member cooperatives or community organizations with development experience to help create and develop oversight systems. The board has also identified the benefit of having board members with legal expertise, a background currently underrepresented. 

Please consider these points when searching your cooperatives and communities for potential nominees to the NASCO board.
 
Candidate Statements
To allow NASCO members to make informed decisions while casting their votes during elections, candidates are asked to submit a statement. These statements are often the only information available about the candidates to NASCO’s members when voting, so it is important to convey a good sense of who you are and what you would like to accomplish as a NASCO Board member.

This year, we will also hold a forum at NASCO Institute where you can introduce yourself and answer questions in-person or by teleconference. This will take place during the Annual General Meeting on Sunday morning. If you are concerned about the cost of attending NASCO Institute, please be aware that we have a Low-Income Scholarship fund that provides funding to nearly 100 people at Institute each year. (LINK HERE)
 
Candidate statements are due no later than November 3, 2017. This deadline will be strictly enforced in order to promptly distribute ballots to NASCO members. 
 
Statements may be submitted by mailed to the NASCO office or emailed in PDF format to ratih@nasco.coop.
 
NASCO
Attn: Elections
1100 W Cermak Rd, #514
Chicago, IL 60608
 
Part I: Personal Data & Statement (Limit 200 words)
Please provide a brief description of your relevant experience and qualifications. Include your involvement with co-ops and a statement on why you are running for the Board. 
 
Part II: Questions (Limit 600 words total) 
Answers to these questions will be re-printed with the candidate statements that are mailed out to our members.
  1. Why are you involved in co-ops?
  2. What is your vision of NASCO within the cooperative movement? What is important for NASCO's long-term success in cooperative education?
  3. Of the items listed in the Requirements of NASCO Directors (in the board member job description), in what areas do you think you can best aid NASCO in its mission? What skills will you bring to the board?
  4. How are you able to contribute to the organization outside Board meetings? How will your other commitments allow you to give time and energy to the Board over the next three years?
  5. Are there specific issues you would like to work on as a board member?
 
Please stay within word limits as over limit responses will have to be edited.
 
FAQ
Who is the Board of Directors?
Our board of directors is composed of NASCO members, NASCO alumni, members of non-NASCO housing and worker cooperatives, and people no longer living in cooperatives but who remain active in the cooperative movement. NASCO’s Board consists of 12 individuals elected for three-year terms on a staggered basis, one Active Member Representative, elected by the Active Members at the NASCO Institute each year, one member selected by the NASCO Properties Board, one appointed representative from the People of Color Caucus, and two appointed caucus chairs: one chosen by the Diversity Congress at Institute and one chosen by the Board, based upon the changing needs and composition of the Board of Directors. The Diversity Congress and the People of Color Caucus have staggered two-year terms.
 
What does the board do?
NASCO’s Board of Directors, as in most cooperative organizations, sets the organization’s policies and direction. By nominating a candidate for the board, your co-op helps to set that direction. Our board members help keep us responsive to the needs of the co-op movement. If you’ve got ideas of where NASCO could be headed and want to help us get there or if you know someone who does, this is your way to get involved.
 
What are the responsibilities of a board member?
Board members are required to attend all board meetings: two annual in-person meetings and one conference call. The date and location of the next meeting will be announced shortly after the election results. Board members are expected to attend and help run the annual Cooperative Educational and Training Institute in November. We also have an informal in-person board meeting the day after Institute. Board members are expected to put in time between meetings. Some activities our board members perform are: remaining active and engaged in committees, reporting to co-ops in their region, performing member visits, recruiting new members, teaching courses at the yearly NASCO Institute, and fundraising. Please see the board member job description on our website for more info.
 
How do we nominate someone?
Nominations can be made in three ways, as laid out in this section of the NASCO Bylaws:
Nomination to the Board may be made in any one of three ways:
A petition signed by five (5) Individual Members, provided that no individual signs more than one (1) petition in each election.
Nomination by an Active Member provided that no Active Member may nominate more than one (1) person by this method.
Nomination by two (2) Associate Members, provided that no Associate Member may participate in more than (1) such joint nomination each election.
Once someone is nominated, they must submit a candidate statement of their background and interests so that members may cast educated votes. 
 
Will we be responsible for the nominee's travel costs to and from board meetings?
Your cooperative could choose to cover your nominee's travel should they be elected. However, you are not required to do so. If not, they will be responsible for covering travel up to the deductible in the travel policy below. 
NASCO shall reimburse Directors for all travel expenses exceeding $200 in a given year, $150 for individuals who do not have institutional support in funding their deductible. If the $150 deductible will cause financial hardship, the deductible can be waived. Board members are directed to travel using low-cost excursion fares. Staff is directed to notify Board members five weeks in advance of a meeting to make travel arrangements and to schedule meetings to minimize travel expenses. A summary of travel expenses shall be distributed at each meeting.

Questions about elections can be sent to Ratih Sutrisno at ratih@nasco.coop. If you or a potential nominee would like to connect with a board member about the NASCO board elections, email the NASCO President Alex Green at AJG1300@gmail.com