The purpose of the nominating committee is to select women who will provide the best leadership for the LWML. The goal is to present to the membership a slate with capable women for each office, so that the group may choose leaders who will serve the organization well.
Someone wisely said, “The membership of an organization deserves the officers it gets.” If it has made a prayerful selection of the most qualified members, then the organization will most likely be well served. If it has been careless in its selection, the result is likely to be poor performance. It is definitely the responsibility of all the members to take seriously both nominations and elections.
The business of the nominating committee is both important and serious, which means added responsibility and work for the chairman as well as the committee members. These guidelines have been compiled to help make the work more effective and the task easier to accomplish.
Selection of the Nominating Committee
Although some organizations appoint the nominating committee, this is not the preferred method. Consideration should be given to the following when constituting the nominating committee:
- The organization’s bylaws should specify the method of election/selection.
- If the organization’s bylaws make no provision for electing the nominating committee, Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised states the nominating committee “should be elected by the organization wherever possible, or else its executive board… In an organized society the president should not appoint this committee or be a member of it.”
Helpful Qualifications of Nominating Committee Members
Nomination committee members should be:
- aware of the total LWML program;
- knowledgeable about the work and goals of the society, zone, or district LWML;
- sufficiently acquainted with the membership to know potential and/or seasoned leaders;
- willing to work with other committee members to complete the work;
- knowledgeable about accepted procedures of the nominating committee as listed in the bylaws.
Meaningful Participation on the Nominating Committee
Nomination committee service demonstrates the following:
- It is a witness of my faith to willingly accept the opportunity to serve on the nominating committee.
- It is a joy to help women recognize themselves as being gifted by God for service and leadership, and I will encourage them in these roles.
- I am supportive of the object of the LWML, and I am willing to allow myself also to be a nominee for an office.
Selection of the Chairman
Unless otherwise specified by the bylaws, the chairman of the nominating committee may be:
- designated by the assembly that elects the committee;
- the member who received the highest number of votes;
- elected by the committee itself.
Before the Committee Meets
Before the first committee meeting, the following will be helpful:
- Each committee member
- should be aware of any specific requirements in the bylaws concerning the composition of the board ;
- ought to study the bylaws in their entirety;
- should know exactly what duties are defined for each office.
- A review of the LWML Handbook will also help bring the organization’s task into focus.
- The committee should secure information about
- which officers are ineligible for reelection;
- which officers are unable to continue in office for one reason or another;
- what additional factors need to be taken into consideration to provide continuity on the board (such as a balance of incoming and continuing officers);
- number of nominees needed for each office;
- any special qualification nominees should demonstrate relative to work planned, etc.
- Unless the bylaws specify differently, the nominating committee should make every effort to secure as many qualified candidates for each office as possible. This allows the voting delegates the opportunity to select their leadership for the next administration.
When the Committee Meets
The chairman calls the meeting to order and conducts devotions or asks someone to do so. A secretary is selected. Any instructions or other information is shared with the entire committee.
- reviews the bylaws on the duties of a nominating committee;
- discusses and defines its business;
- sets up a procedure to follow;
- notes special considerations that ought to be observed, such as
- strengths or weaknesses in the present leadership;
- representation from the entire area, the diversity of the membership, etc.
It is important to remember that the aim in seeking nominations is always ultimately the good of the organization.
A helpful method for listing possible nominees is “brainstorming.” This is a technique whereby everyone (at random or in sequence) names any and all persons who come to mind as possible candidates. No value judgments are made. The secretary keeps the list of names, preferably on a blackboard or flip chart, so all can see. This process ought to be limited to about ten (10) minutes. The committee then can begin evaluating the list, adding or subtracting possibilities, or designating suitable combinations for various offices to be filled.
It is good to keep in mind that self must be put aside; special loyalties to friends must not improperly influence the committee or its members. It is thoughtless to nominate Jane because “it will be so good for her.” What you are asked to do as a nominating committee is to get someone good for the organization. Even though an incumbent may be eligible for reelection, the committee is under no obligation to nominate her again unless she is clearly the best person for the office. At the same time, however, take into account the valuable experience she has already gained.
Seek nominees who are qualified for the office they are to fill. BEGIN with the president and vice president. Keep clearly in mind that the vice president is an important person who must be able and ready to become the president at any time. It is unwise to nominate anyone who may be reluctant to take the presidency if circumstances deliver it to her. Trust God’s direction!
Qualities of Potential Nominees
It is essential that officers of the LWML on all levels are committed to Christ and serving Him.
Potential nominees should also be:
- faithful in prayer and the study of God’s Word;
- committed to Christ, to His people and His work;
- humble, remembering that Jesus said, “And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant”;
- assuming that others are working with her, not for her;
- able to laugh at herself;
- sensitive to people’s needs, reflecting God’s love in her concern, sincerity, and fairness;
- dedicated to helping others develop their talents for service to the Lord;
- patient, realizing that not all people have the same gifts in like measure, and that not all ideas will be met with enthusiasm;
- generous in sharing responsibility, not trying to do everything herself;
- persevering when discouragement comes, willing to reevaluate situations and overcome difficulties without criticizing or finding fault;
- positive in her attitude, knowing no one ever accomplished anything by believing it couldn’t be done;
- dependable, meeting her commitments promptly;
- practical, balancing people, material, time, and money;
- flexible, adjusting to new ideas and situations without losing her composure;
- mature enough to admit when she is in error, learn from the experience, and be willing to forgive and forget.
Qualities for Specific Positions
Minutes are the only accepted record of the proceedings of the organization. A secretary should be
- able to listen accurately, hearing what is said rather than what she wishes was said or thinks she might have heard;
- able to write clearly and concisely (Computer skills are helpful.) so that the reader will know exactly what transpired;
- versed in parliamentary procedure, since it is her task to supply the president with information regarding pending business (Did we vote on that motion? Have we taken care of all the business?).
The treasurer should possess:
- skill in keeping accounts;
- knowledge of business procedures;
- reputation for promptness and accuracy;
- a fondness for detailed work;
- an appreciation of human frailty so she will not be upset when others handle money matters differently.
ENTHUSIASM is paramount. In addition to reporting information, chairmen are to foster attitudes and elicit commitment in committee members so that duties are fulfilled.
A committee chairman should be able to:
- gather ideas through printed resources and conferences;
- assess situations and analyze what to use and how;
- organize materials and persons so that ideas can be communicated effectively to many others;
- improvise, use what is at hand, and demonstrate creativity.
Where to Look for Potential Nominees
Potential nominees might be:
- past local, zone, and district officers or committee chairmen;
- LWML officers or committee chairmen from other areas;
- women who serve as officers in other organizations;
- committee members;
- members serving on the nominating committee.
A Talent Bank questionnaire can be devised to help gather information about areas of interest, talents, and past experience of potential nominees. This resource can provide assistance to the committee in identifying nominees or committee appointments at the local, zone, or district level.
Selection of Nominees
After discussion, the committee votes by ballot, beginning with the nominees for president or vice president. This sequence of voting provides an opportunity to create a balance of various qualities. A procedure also needs to be in place to list alternate nominees in priority order. Agreement should be reached about which offices are to depend on answers received from those nominees who were asked to run for other offices. Don’t find yourself asking someone to be nominated for secretary and then later ask her to be nominated for president because you received no response from other nominees who were asked first.
The chairman has the authority to proceed with business as planned and reports to the committee members on progress. Committee members charged with work are to report to the chairman. If the committee can meet only once, a procedure such as a conference call or “Reply to all” e-mail may be helpful.
Work done in the committee is confidential. The report is made to the board and/or president. They alone have the authority to make the slate public before the report goes to the meeting.
Notification of Nominees
The nominee may be contacted by phone, in person, or in writing. If contact is made by phone or in person, the nominee should also receive confirmation in writing as should be the nominee’s response.
It is good practice to describe the demands of the office to the nominee and provide her with a job description, if available. Questions should be answered frankly. Time should be allowed for her consideration. Once confirmed, request biographical information, if needed.
A “nominee” is a person whose name has been proposed for an office. A “candidate” is a person who has agreed to serve, if elected, and is willing to have her name placed on the slate for election. A “slate” is a list of candidates presented for election. A “ballot” is a piece of paper used to cast a vote.
Conclusion of the Committee’s Work
When the slate has been determined:
- invite the nominees to attend the organization’s meeting where election will take place;
- prepare more than enough ballots, but only those qualified to vote should vote, and only once;
- leave space on the ballot for nominations from the floor and include written directions for voting;
- list names in alphabetical order for each office.
The report of the nominating committee is presented to the assembly by the chairman of the nominating committee. Copies of the report are to be given to the president and secretary. The presiding officer should ask for nominations from the floor. Nominations may be made by any member provided consent of the nominee has been secured and the nominee meets the qualifications of the office. Nominees are introduced by the presiding officer after the nominations are closed.