The annual SVBC Board of Directors election is coming up. I understand this topic may draw a big yawn but for those of you who are interested in exciting topics like governance, read on!

Nonprofit organizations are overseen by a board of directors. For most nonprofits, board members are elected by the board. For SVBC, it’s different. We are a true membership organization and our members vote on the SVBC Board of Directors. As an aside, many of you who receive the e-bulletin are not members and if you want to vote on the board, you’ll need to sign up before November 12th. You can do that here.

There are a couple of issues I want to raise so that you, our members, are up to speed on this year’s election.

First, a kind of wonky piece:

Board members are elected for two year terms. The goal, as outlined in the SVBC bylaws is to keep the number of board members up for election balanced. Currently, there are 14 board members and if the organization was “balanced,” seven would be up in the even years and seven in the odd.

In reality, SVBC is out of balance. Ten people are up for re-election this year and there will be four next year. For that reason, the board has been grappling with how to obtain balance. At its upcoming meeting, the board will be deliberating on the idea of asking new recruits this year to run for a one-year term and asking some existing members to do the same. Those members would then re-run in 2018, in effect going from “odd year” board members to “even year,” all the while being elected by our members. This would help return the number of board members up for election each year back to a more balanced cycle.

Now that the wonky stuff is out of the way, we also wanted to encourage you, our existing members, to send suggested board members our way! The system for recruiting and wooing new members takes years and we’re always seeking new prospects. We have a running list of about 30 prospective candidates that we work with over time and based on those interactions then recommend a slate of candidates to bring to the membership for a vote.

If you have suggestions on folks to add to the list, please send them our way. Excellent board candidates should have some of the following attributes:

  • Experience with organizational development and governance
  • An understanding of budgeting and financial reporting
  • Knowledge of some of the elements that go into overseeing an organization such as marketing, legal, communications, and human resources
  • Ability to fundraise through strong corporate connections and/or door opening capabilities to new funders
  • Knowledge of different elements of the bike community from those who are dependent on the bike for transportation to racing/recreation and everything in between.

We’re also committed to not only improving the racial and socioeconomic diversity of the SVBC Board, but also working with our board to examine bias within our own systems and identify strategies to make the organization more equitable in its work and internal structures. And, it goes without saying, SVBC wants folks who are so passionate about bicycling that they would bring their bike to bed if their partner allowed it!

Again, if you would like to vote in the election, you must be a member by November 12th. So, sign up here, now. Also, the $35 membership rate is a floor, not a ceiling. Feel free to donate more as a part of your membership and sign up to be a recurring member so you don’t have to remember to re-up next year.

If you have any questions or want to send suggestions for board members our way, please contact the SVBC Board Chair, James Lucas at