President Election Comments

President Bell's Comments Regarding Board Service

Over the past few weeks I have had a lot of inquiries to “What is it like to be on the Board of Directors of NASAR” As the current President of NASAR I thought I would share the experience. 

First let’s explain what it’s not. It’s Not an extension of your own team, region or state. Unlike our nation’s political body with equal representation of state and population density, we only have 7 board positions were we must represent All SAR volunteers both professional volunteers and paid professionals.  With 7 positions it’s improbable to even obtain adequate geographical representation.  As with any volunteer board position you attract people with a passion to help and hopefully not use it as a soap box with an ax to grind. We are expected to put the interest of the organization before any personal or professional concerns and avoid conflicts of interest. Hence, when serving on the Board you must be SAR neutral in order to serve all of our members and nonmembers.

We don’t discuss much the latest patient packaging techniques, wilderness medical advances, best practices in technical rescue, K-9 training techniques or search management theory though it would be fun if we did.  We leave those topics to our Committees of Subject Matter Experts who advise us on their recommendations based on their exhaustive research and for that, this board is extremely thankful and fortunate we have such great experts in those areas.  So if that is your passion we could always use more on those committees.

What the Board actually does, and is bound legally both federally and through the state, is to ensure the organization remains fiscally sound and is well managed.  We exercise oversight of the operation to ensure it maintains ethical and legal accountability of our staff and volunteers. We ensure the organization complies with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations, and it remains committed to our mission, vision and values. In addition and most important we have a fiduciary role by maintaining oversight of our finances.  We evaluate and develop fiscal policy, develop and approve budgets, review monthly financials and trend reports to ensure we have the resources to effectively carry out the mission of the organization.

So we spend 12 months of the year reviewing our financial position (P&L), cash flow, balance sheet, forecast and trends. We spend 6 of those 12 discussing and developing next year’s budget. We discuss budget variances, marketing strategies, trend analysis, long and short term growth strategies, KPI’s, ROI’s, LMS systems, SWOT analysis, CGL and EPLI policies, social media strategies, employee comp and benefits, Non-disclosure and Conflict of interest agreements. Employment contracts, contracts with third party vendors, legal recs from our legal counsel, policy and bylaws best practices, internal and external customer challenges, opportunities and satisfaction.  And effective partnerships strategies with our State, local and Federal Cooperatives just to name a few. Nothing sexy, sometimes not even fun but extremely rewarding. 

You see at the end of the day we are a half a million dollar a year corporation and growing.  We have employees and volunteers. We have customers both internal and external along with our valuable partners. The problems we face are not SAR problems, the problems we face are half a million dollar a year corporation business problems we just happen to be in the SAR education and certification business. And sometimes we stumble and have to get up, dust ourselves off and remove the egg from our face.  Through it all, I still believe we are the best as we continue to improve with special thanks to our Great Board, Executive Director and his team, our Committee Chairs and Directors and the rest of our Volunteers.