Editors Canada is a federally incorporated not-for-profit organization with around 1,300 members from Canada and around the world. There are several acceptable governance options for not-for-profit organizations; in the case of Editors Canada, it is governed by a national executive council (NEC) made up of several directors. I’d like to offer a refresher (or an introduction, if this is new to you!) on the NEC, as well as where to find important information related to governance on the Editors Canada website.
Who (or what) is the NEC?
The NEC consists of directors who have been elected by the Editors Canada membership to govern the association. All directors must be members of Editors Canada. Even though they direct the business of the association, the directors are, at all times, accountable to the association’s members.
There are usually 12 directors, although this can fluctuate slightly based on how many people volunteer each year. Each director has equal importance on the NEC; for example, the president is not more important than any other director. If you are curious about who is a member of the NEC in a given year, you can check out their bios on the National Executive Council page.
What does the NEC do?
The NEC oversees the work done by the volunteers on national committees and in national positions and works with Editors Canada staff members to help the association run smoothly. Essentially, the NEC helps direct the association’s activities and decides what the association should spend money on each year.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NEC met three times a year in person and once online (for a total of four quarterly meetings). Now, the NEC meets monthly (except in December, July and August) via Zoom. Any member of Editors Canada is welcome to attend any NEC meeting; information related to upcoming NEC meetings, including the Zoom link for the meetings, can be found on the National Meetings and Minutes page on the website (you need to be logged in to view this page). You can also find minutes from past NEC meetings there.
The NEC conducts a lot of its business, including discussions and motions, over email in between meetings. A list of online motions is appended to each set of minutes so members can view what’s been voted on.
How is the NEC held accountable?
The NEC is committed to transparency, and all meeting summaries, reports and policies and procedures are publicly available on the Editors Canada website. Short summaries of each NEC meeting are also included in the monthly e-news blast that is sent to members.
Each quarter, directors are asked to submit a report. These reports list what committees and/or positions report to each director; successes, accomplishments and challenges from the last quarter; priorities for the next quarter and requests that directors may have for the entire NEC. This keeps directors accountable and on track with their planned goals throughout the year and gives the entire NEC a more in-depth look at what each director is working on. These reports are collated and are available to view on the National Meetings and Minutes page (scroll all the way to the bottom!).
The NEC must also abide by the Editors Canada Bylaw and the association’s policies and procedures.
Where can I find more information about being a director?
More details about the NEC can be found in The Directors Handbook, which is available for download on the Volunteer Resources page (login required).
Better yet, attend an NEC meeting and see what we do for yourself! Hope to see you there!
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