Volunteer for the WECHS Board of Directors

What is the Board of Directors?

The Board of Directors is the governance body of Windsor/Essex County Humane Society (WECHS). On behalf of the community, and representing the members of WECHS, the Board provides the strategic direction, resources, and high-level oversight for the organization to be successful in achieving its mission and goals. 

Who serves on the WECHS Board?

Board members come from all walks of life. They share a commitment to WECHS and the animals in our care and have skills that are required by the Board. Ideally, but not exclusively, candidates are sought with Board and/or volunteer experience at charitable/not-for-profit organizations, and with expertise in the following areas: management/strategic planning; finance/accounting; governance; evaluation/performance management; fundraising; veterinary medicine; government/municipal relations; privacy/security, communications, information technology; legal or regulatory; and/or human resources/recruitment & retention.

Other characteristics include:

  • Age: By law, Board members must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Education: Formal education is not a requirement for all Board positions, though it is desirable to have certain professionals on the Board to ensure an appropriate mix of perspectives. Many candidates possess a combination of work and personal experience that provides them with the necessary knowledge and understanding of the financial, administrative, ethical and policy issues that may be discussed at the Board.
  • Knowledge/Awareness: Candidates should possess an interest in animal welfare and should understand the need to demonstrate a public image that is in keeping with the philosophies and goals of WECHS.
  • Personal Suitability: It is desirable to have Board members who are willing and have confidence to advocate for the organization as well as challenge ideas, while recognizing that the willingness to challenge must be tempered by recognition of the need to work together in a cooperative and collegial manner.
  • Financial Commitment: All Board members are expected to make the Humane Society a priority recipient of their annual charitable giving.

What is expected of me as a Board member?

The Board of Directors usually meets once per month in the evening, for about two hours, at the WECHS. Reports, background materials, and other documentation are sent to Board members several days before the meeting, and Board members are expected to have read the materials and have their questions and comments prepared.

The main responsibilities of the WECHS Board are to:

  1. Determine mission and purpose. It is the Board’s responsibility to create and review a statement of mission and purpose that articulates the organization’s goals, means, and primary constituents served.
  2. Select the Executive Director (ED). When needed, the Board must reach consensus on the ED’s responsibilities and undertake a careful search to find the most qualified individual for the position. The Board will ensure that there is a succession plan in place.
  3. Support and evaluate the ED. The Board should ensure that the ED has the support he/she needs to further the goals of the organization.
  4. Ensure adequate financial resources. One of the Board’s foremost responsibilities is to secure adequate resources for the WECHS to fulfill its mission.
  5. Protect assets and provide proper financial oversight. The Board approves and monitors the annual budget and ensures that proper financial controls are in place.
  6. Build a competent Board. The Board has a responsibility to articulate prerequisites for candidates, orient new members, and periodically and comprehensively evaluate their own performance.
  7. Ensure legal and ethical integrity. The Board is ultimately responsible for the organization’s adherence to legal standards and ethical norms.
  8. Ensure effective strategic planning. The Board must actively participate in an overall strategic planning process and assist in implementing and monitoring the plan’s goals.
  9. Monitor and strengthen programs and services. The Board’s responsibility is to determine which programs are consistent with WECHS’s mission and monitor their effectiveness.
  10. Enhance the WECHS’s public standing. The Board should clearly articulate and support the WECHS’s mission, accomplishments, and goals to the public and garner support from the community.
  11. Manage risk. The board must assess and address risk to the organization and ensure timely and proper corresponding responses.

Since discussions may involve confidential or sensitive issues, Board members are asked to sign a Confidentiality Agreement and a Board Commitment Pledge.

Board members are expected to attend most, if not all, major WECHS events.

In addition to the monthly meeting and periodic events, Board members typically serve on at least one committee.

In addition, if you are not already a member of WECHS, a candidate must become a member of the Windsor/Essex County Humane Society prior to being formally nominated a director.

How do I become a WECHS Board member?

As Board vacancies occur, the Board Nominating Committee will search out applicants: 

  1. You are asked to submit a resume and letter of interest according to the guidelines in the Application Package. Please note that submissions must be received by 7pm on Friday, March 23, 2018.
  2. If selected for an initial interview, a phone interview will be set up
  3. Following the phone interview, short-listed candidates will be interviewed in person by the Nominating Committee
  4. If selected, the Nominating Committee will present you as part of the slate at the next AGM. Occasionally, if a current Board member resigns mid-term there will be an opportunity to be appointed by the Board as an interim member until the next AGM.
  5. Before your first Board meeting you will be provided with an orientation by existing Board members and an opportunity to spend time in the shelter.

WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?

There are many rewards from serving on the Board of Directors:

  1. Sharing with a team in the accomplishment of doing something important for the Windsor/Essex County Humane Society and our community’s animals;
  2. Using your skills in new ways, addressing very interesting issues;
  3. Learning more about the Windsor/Essex County Humane Society and how it operates;
  4. Meeting people who share your interests;
  5. Developing new skills;
  6. Developing your volunteer knowledge and skills – in the future, you may want to help other charities, too;
  7. Being associated with an organization that has been helping your community since 1926.

If you would like more information about what is entailed in being a member of the Board, please contact:

Executive Director
Windsor/Essex County Humane Society
519-966-5751, ext. 14
melanie@windsorhumane.org