The Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy was founded by a group of dedicated local residents who were passionate about protecting the important natural and cultural features of the region for future generations. As we seek new board members, we are looking for other individuals who will continue the work that the founding members started. The passion for our work and commitment to our goals that we seek in board members is most effectively utilized by adherence to the elements of the job description.
The board is legally and fiscally responsible for the affairs and activities of the organization. The board is responsible for ensuring that MHLC meets legal requirements and that it is operating in accordance with its mission and for the purpose for which it was granted tax-exemption. Board members ensure the organization maintains accountability by providing proper financial oversight. Individual board members must exercise the duty of care (meaning they must attend meetings, be prepared to make informed decisions by reading the information provided and requesting additional information if necessary, and carry out their duties in a reasonable and responsible manner). (See appendix A)
The Board, its officers and its committees, sets and enforces policy and rules; establishes goals and budgets for the MHLC’s program; hires and monitors the performance of the executive director, secures funds to enable the MHLC to meet its budget and carry out its program; monitors the use of those funds; and provides volunteer leadership for the organization.
Individual Member Responsibilities:
1. Attend monthly board meetings and meetings of at least one committee per month.
2. Actively represent and promote MHLC in the community.
3. Participate in policy and decision making at both the board and committee levels.
4. Assist the MHLC in gaining needed community support by exercising personal and professional contacts whenever possible and appropriate.
5. Accept a leadership position on the board as experience and time allow.
6. Provide financial support:
a. Personal support
Each board member is expected to make an annual contribution to the Conservancy in an amount that is personally significant. In addition to their importance to the Conservancy operating budget, these contributions are an important benchmark to other individual, corporate and foundation donors.
b. Fundraising events
Each board member is expected to attend and support the Conservancy’s major fundraising event, its Country gala, which is usually held on the third or fourth weekend in September. Board members should participate in planning, invite friends, solicit silent auction donations and business sponsorships, and recruit other volunteers.
c. Other fundraising activities
Board members assist as they are able by organizing a fund-raising event; arranging or hosting a gathering; obtaining major gifts; recommending names for solicitation; and accompanying others on visits to obtain grants or gifts.
Qualifications:Preferably, previous experience with the MHLC as a member of a committee or as an active volunteer. Impeccable personal integrity, commitment to the goals and program of the MHLC; available time; ability to work in concert with the other members of board and staff; experience or knowledge in at least one of the following areas is preferred: program (agriculture, land conservation), fundraising (leadership, involvement), public relations and community relations, finance, law.
Time Commitment:Monthly board meetings are one evening per month from approximately 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Approximately two hours per month on committee work. Board members are expected to participate in volunteer activities of the Conservancy according to their skills and abilities. They should expect to devote, on average, 6 to 10 hours per month between meetings and activities.
Election & Term:The bylaws authorize a board of 7 to 21 Directors. Directors are elected for terms of three years at the annual voting member meeting. Service is limited to three consecutive three-year terms. Officers are elected from among the directors for one-year terms at the designated board meeting. Officers are limited to three consecutive one-year terms.
Appendix A - Legal responsibilities of nonprofit boards
Under well established principles of nonprofit corporation law, a board member must meet certain standards of conduct and attention in carrying out his or her responsibilities to the organization. Several states have statutes adopting some variation of these duties which would be used in court to determine whether a board member acted improperly. These standards are usually described as the duty of care, the duty of loyalty, and the duty of obedience.Duty of Care The duty of care describes the level of competence that is expected of a board member, and is commonly expressed as the duty of “care that an ordinarily prudent person would exercise in a like position and under similar circumstances.” This means that a board member owes the duty to exercise reasonable care when he or she makes a decision as a steward of the organization. Duty of Loyalty The duty of loyalty is a standard of faithfulness; a board member must give undivided allegiance when making decisions affecting the organization. This means that a board member can never use information obtained as a member for personal gain, but must act in the best interests of the organization. Duty of Obedience The duty of obedience requires board members to be faithful to the organization’s mission. They are not permitted to act in a way that is inconsistent with the central goals of the organization. A basis for this rule lies in the public’s trust that the organization will manage donated funds to fulfill the organization’s mission.