Responsibilities of SAPFM Board of Directors Members

16 September 2019

SAPFM is an organization dedicated to the understanding, education, and appreciation of American period furniture. With the exception of our professional editors, it is an all-volunteer organization with an elected Board of Directors that is responsible for the operation of the organization. Thank you for your interest in serving the organization as a member of the Board of Directors. The composition of the board, and the skills, talents, experience and commitment are all important to the success of SAPFM. A threshold quality that any board member should have is a passion for SAPFM and recognition of the value and importance of the organization. A board member must also have the time available to discharge the duties described below, and a willingness to commit that time for the benefit of the organization. (The Bylaws of SAPFM are found here.)

Ideally, the Board should consist of at least one professional woodworker/furniture maker. The board’s make up should also include a few professionals still engaged in their careers, who bring organization, professional experience, and a variety of other skills to the Board of Directors.  And lastly, others members with a significant amount of time to commit to SAPFM, (such as retired individuals), that possess skills beneficial to the organization.

 The following traits are desirable in all board members:

  1. A passion and love for this form of furniture and the preservation of the skills and advancement of the craft. The person might be a maker, collector or someone who just loves this furniture.
  2. A team player. The person can work independently, but is also able to function effectively in a team environment.
  3. Has time available to commit to the effort (explained in more detail below)

The Board meets in person in January in Williamsburg the day prior to the beginning of the Williamsburg Working in Wood in the 18th Century conference. It is an important all day meeting that all Board members should plan to attend. In addition, the Board meets from 6-8 times a year via a conference call, generally on a Sunday evening. Those meetings typically last 2 hours, but members often spend 1-2 hours in preparation for this type of meeting. Board members who chair or are part of one of the various committees may meet at other times but these meetings are also usually by conference call. The time commitments for the various committees can be significant, and may also be seasonal (e.g. the mid-year conference).

The professional woodworker component of the Board represents the core of our educational mission. This individual or individuals should be expert at the craft, and in the best case, educators or woodworkers who are well-connected to others in the woodworking field. They bring the firsthand knowledge and experience, as well as an understanding of the challenges that professionals in woodworking face.

The active or retired professional will be responsible for management and growth of SAPFM. The skills acquired in their professional and  life experience outside of woodworking might involve role(s) that have included financial accountability (P&L), management of team/department, payroll responsibility such as the owner of business, or in the service industry (e.g. consulting, CPA, lawyer, advertising). The candidate should be accustomed to meeting deadlines, operating within limited budgets, and recognizing and dealing with the economic consequences of their actions. They should be strong team players with excellent skills in the areas of organizing and managing activities or events. Still others may bring unique skills such as museum connections, fund raising for charitable organizations, or familiarity in antique transactions as examples. The active professional should be prepared to spend approximately 2-3 hours per month, except for the annual meeting and quarterly conference calls. Ideally these professional can progress to spend more time on SAPFM, either as they progress to a less time intensive period of their career or as they are able to fold SAPFM duties into their schedule.

The professional members of the Board who are able to make a significant time commitment (likely retired) will form the working backbone of SAPFM’s operation. SAPFM needs the hours, experience and dedication of these board members to help keep the organization moving forward. There are a number of roles (and some require more time than others), a list of committees and officer positions appears below. In general, this group of Board members will ideally plan on a commitment of 8-10 hours a month.

There are many rewards of being a part of the SAPFM Board of Directors. Those include having a meaningful impact on SAPFM’s success and advancement, and on the body of educational resources available to a craft that might otherwise disappear. Board members’ satisfaction can also come from helping to shape new initiatives and programs such as the educational grant program, member exhibits, and the collaborative museum efforts SAPFM undertakes. Members also get to meet and work with others of like mind and interests but from disparate backgrounds, and there is also a real sense of fellowship and collaboration among the members of the board. As a member of the Board, you have get the opportunity to meet members at large in different and exciting venues and to listen to ideas and suggestions.

 A board member will also be required to take on officer and/or committee roles. Officer positions are President, Vice President/President Elect, Immediate Past President, Treasurer and Secretary, with principal roles as outlined in the aforementioned Bylaws. Standing committees include (Board membership is not required to serve on or head many of these committees):

  1. Cartouche Selection Committee
  2. Finance Committee
  3. Major Events Committee
  4. Chapter Support Committee
  5. Outreach Committee
  6. Educational Grant Committee
  7. Nominating Committee
  8. Development (fund raising) Committee
  9. Website Administration
  10. Social Media Committee
  11. Editorial Board
  12. Solicitation Registration Committee

From time to time additional ad hoc committees help with such efforts as revamping the web site or recruiting a paid position. Depending on the committee, the time commitments may be limited to a specific event such as the mid-year or annual banquet. Those have intense effort but over a shorter period of time. Other committees such as the Chapter Support or Editorial Board have on-going commitments. Clearly some of the officer positions require more time. The President and Treasurer roles require the greatest time commitment. The Chapter Support committee has a special responsibility in that chapters are the principle human point of contact for many members of SAPFM (the other educational resources being paper or digital). Fostering the success of the chapters is of particular importance and this individual must be energetic, enthusiastic and effective. The other officers’ time commitments vary depending on what other assignments augment those responsibilities.

(A PDF version of this article can be found pdfhere.)