SheJumps is a nonprofit community of women and girls lifting one another up to achieve new heights and realize new potential. After all, we were founded on the premise, “If she can do this, so can I.” While the overwhelming majority of mission-serving work is done by volunteers, we have a small but mighty staff behind the scenes providing support. The staff is, in turn, supported by the SheJumps Board of Directors.
The Board of Directors is the ultimate governing body responsible for overseeing the organization as dictated in our bylaws. This includes developing the strategic plan, approving the budget and tracking organizational financial performance, hiring the Executive Director, electing the Board’s officers, and setting organizational policies and procedures.
This doesn’t mean the Board determines things like the process for someone to become an ambassador. SheJumps is a complex organization, and while the Board has ultimate responsibility, it has delegated its authority for many policies and procedures to the volunteers running those parts of the organization. Take a look at our organizational chart for an idea of how more than 90 volunteers around the country fulfill our mission to increase the participation of women and girls in outdoor activities.
Board members volunteer their time, and are required to sign a personal commitment to advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) through all of SheJumps’s programs and decision making.
Roles & responsibilities
The Board has three main areas of responsibility:
Duty of care: Board members must dedicate time and energy to inform themselves of the facts and do the appropriate analysis before making any decisions.
Duty of loyalty: Board members aren't allowed to personally benefit from an agreement or opportunity with the organization.
Duty of obedience: To remain faithful to and pursue the goals of the organization. The Board Directors must make sure that the nonprofit is abiding by all applicable laws and regulations and doesn’t engage in illegal or unauthorized activities. (from Mission Box and BoardEffect.com)
Our Board is very much a balance of a governing board and a managerial board. Ideally, a nonprofit’s governance responsibilities (aka, general oversight) are kept separate from the managerial responsibilities (the day to day work of the business, generally done by staff). But with a small but mighty staff, some of our Board members also help with operations as needed. If you’d interested in learning more about the specifics, check out the Board of Directors roles and responsibilities.
Beyond the legal obligation of having an active nonprofit board, a primary function of Board Members is to serve as advocates on behalf of the organization’s mission. The benefits of serving on a board of directors include personal and professional networking opportunities, both with fellow Board members and the opportunity to work with various volunteers in the local community. Each individual Board member can help the organization expand its impact and its network of resources while gaining beneficial opportunities.
Board roles and selection
Every individual on the Board shares passion for SheJumps and our mission. Each board member is different, and when considering new members we look at factors of professional background and personal identity. We seek to have a broad diversity of members, as studies show that the more diverse your pool of decision makers, the more innovative and successful your solution. We consider Board Members on the basis of age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, outdoor activities, regional location, profession, and skillset.
According to American Philanthropic, nonprofits are advised to “assess potential board members based on three “W’s” — “wealth, wisdom, and work.” In other words, giving capacity, subject-matter expertise that’s relevant to your organizational mission, and a willingness to volunteer time and/or access to professional networks.” We strive to find a balance of the three “W’s” when it comes to the SheJumps Board of Directors, and we also look for people who have a strong passion for our work and believe in our mission. And, serving on the board is fun, so we seek people who will bring playfulness and fun ideas for us to explore.
Some of our Board Members are former ambassadors and regional directors. Others are past program participants inspired by the mission. Many Board Members bring prior board experience and other valuable professional experience in areas like fundraising, risk management, legal, finance, and communications.
In total, our Board has up to 15 members at any given time. A quorum, or simple majority, is required for any formal decisions.
The Board also includes five officer roles which comprise the Executive Committee: Chair, Vice Chair, Immediate Past Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. Officers serve a 2-year term starting in July, the beginning of our fiscal year. These officers meet separately on occasion to determine high-level issues. These are annual positions and the officer may hold a position on the executive committee for no more than four years. Individuals do not need to have been on the Board previously to serve in an officer role. The Executive Committee has the power to act on behalf of the Board between meetings and when addressing urgent situations.
The Board convenes eight times each year: seven times via a digital board meeting and once annually as part of our 3-day Summit in October.
In a typical board meeting, the Board hears updates from various committees (e.g., DEI and Fundraising) before deep diving into one or two topics.
Examples of recent deep dives include:
Board onboarding process
SheJumps approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Organizational messaging & communications
Board Members are active outside of board meetings by serving on board committees and participating in our volunteer-run programs. These committees can be standing (perpetual) such as the DEI committee, or ad-hoc initiatives such as the IKON pass giveaway. Committees often have a mix of Board Members and non-board volunteers on them.
We are striving for more transparency in what our Board and committee is working on, and in the future we hope to share more public updates with you. We have recently shared SheJumps’s commitment to DEI, and have the intention of sharing more in the future.
Become a Board Member
In the past, our process to add new Board Members has not been inclusive. Current Board Members were asked to nominate two individuals, then the existing Board members chose from the slate of candidates. This practice did not invite everyone to the table, and failed when it came to our goals of equitable practices and transparency. We are changing our process to be more inline with our values.
Moving ahead, we’ll have multiple opportunities for you to learn more about the Board, confirm your interest, and put your name forward via a new public nominations process that will roll out in a few weeks.