‘Tis the Season: Recruitment for SDCAP Board of Directors (BOD) and YOUtopia Production Leadership Team (PLT)

It’s December and that means it’s recruitment season for the SDCAP Board of Directors (BOD) and the Production Leadership Team (PLT) for YOUtopia. Both volunteer roles have specific responsibilities and requirements outlined in their respective job descriptions and applications. The purpose of this post is to provide a little additional context about the positions, the organization, and how it all works together. If you already know the score, scroll to the bottom for links to applications and whatnot. 

What is SDCAP?

The San Diego Collaborative Arts Project is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt not-for-profit organization founded in 2012. SDCAP’s Mission is to support collaborative arts in San Diego, particularly those aligned with the 10 Principles of Burning Man. SDCAP is the legal entity. Current SDCAP projects include YOUtopia, CoLab, and year-round grantmaking. 

What is the BOD?

The BOD’s function is fiduciary, legal, and operational oversight. The BOD doesn’t initiate much, and rather serves an administrative function in terms of protecting the organization and its assets. That’s what’s required by CA and federal law. 

Legal requirements for non-profit governance fall into 3 categories: Duty of Care, Duty of Loyalty, and Duty of Obedience. If you’re thinking about applying for the BOD, we recommend spending some time reading up on these terms and thinking about whether that’s truly the role you want to play in the organization. In practice, we spend a ton of time talking about budgets, accounting, liability, safety, and insurance. It’s not everyone’s cup o’ tea. 

The BOD, per its bylaws and in accordance with the laws of CA, is comprised of anywhere from 7-15 Directors and is required to have a President/Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. Non-profit Boards are responsible for recruiting their own Directors. 

The SDCAP BOD generally operates using a consensus model, as is considered a best-practice by many a non-profit governance guru. If you’re not familiar with consensus models, this is another thing we recommend reading up on before you throw your hat in the ring. 

Difference between the BOD and PLT

Due to the nature of non-profit governance, the BOD’s role is primarily about protecting the assets of the 501(c)(3), so we can keep having YOUtopia, keep the lights on at CoLab, and keep giving out art grants year-round, as those are the ways we advance our mission. It can often feel (to us and others) like we’re the fun police. The BOD is part of a system of checks and balances, and it’s the risk-averse side of the system. The BOD is more likely to prevent than to instigate or initiate. Again, not everyone’s cup o’ tea. 

The BOD selects the PLT, then work with the PLT in developing, approving, and managing the YOUtopia budget – including oversight of the interdisciplinary Art Grants Committee. The BOD also works with the PLT on anything within event operations that could have financial or safety or legal consequences, pose an existential threat to the event, or fall under one of the 3 Duties of non-profit governance. 

If you’re primarily interested in joining the BOD in order to have a big impact on the look and feel of YOUtopia “on the ground,” you may be disappointed. The BOD doesn’t have anything to do with the art theme, soundscape, theme camp placement, volunteer SWAG, Commissary menu, or how many Kubotas are allocated to each department. The BOD does have oversight of things like Volunteer Ticket pricing, Commissary budget, total budget for Kubotas, and capital investments to Safety equipment; those are all areas the BOD and PLT collaborate on in the early stages of YOUtopia planning, as we hammer out a budget. Execution of the budget and overall operations for the event are entrusted to the PLT… until/unless something gets escalated to the BOD because of – you guessed it – financial or legal reasons.

In short, if you want to have a big, big role in YOUtopia, consider the PLT instead of the BOD. 

BOD Selection Process 

Per SDCAP’s bylaws and the State of CA, non-profit boards are responsible for selecting their directors. BOD members are tasked with actively recruiting qualified candidates for BOD service, and we also have open calls to the community (like this one). Anyone is welcome to apply for BOD service. We review applications and invite the best-qualified candidates to interview. We also administer a Community Advisory Election, so anyone in the San Diego Burning Man community can weigh in on the candidates. Note that while the results of the Community Advisory Elections have historically aligned with the BOD’s selection choices, this is not a democratic process – the current BOD members make the final selection decisions for new BOD members. 

PLT Selection Process

The SDCAP BOD selects the PLT for the coming year’s YOUtopia. Anyone is welcome to apply for the PLT. We review applications and invite the best-qualified candidates to interview. The current BOD members make the final selection decisions for the PLT. 

2020 Selection Process and Timeline

We’re still working on the details, so please don’t hold us to this 100% just yet. The process is likely to include:

BOD Selection PLT Selection
  • Applications Open until 12/31/19
  • Applications Open open until 1/15/19
  • Applications will be reviewed to determine the Best Qualified candidates per the Job Description
  • Applications will be reviewed to determine the Best Qualified candidates per the Job Description
  • Best Qualified candidates will be invited to interview at an Open Candidate Forum held at CoLab (January)
  • Best Qualified candidates will be invited to interview privately with the BOD (January)
  • Community Advisory Election, with option to cast votes either at the Open Candidate Forum or online (January)
  • BOD finalizes selections (February)
  • Community narrative feedback via confidential/anonymous online form (January)
  • PLT starts work on YOUtopia 2020 (February)
  • BOD finalizes selections (February) 
  • New Directors begin their terms 2nd Wednesday in March

Open BOD Seats in 2020

BOD Members serve 3 year terms. We currently have 7 directors with 3 terms ending in March. That means we need to fill at least 3 spots, and could conceivably fill 4 or 5 (we like to have 7-9 people on the BOD). 

Open PLT Roles in 2020

The PLT is designed to have 5-ish members. In 2019, it was a 4-person team and that worked well. All 4 of the 2019 PLT members are eligible to reprise their roles in 2020, if they want ‘em, but word on the street is that not all of them will be returning. This means there are likely some openings for the 2020 PLT. 

Next Steps

If you’re considering applying for the BOD, the first thing to do is start attending BOD meetings. Attendance at at least 2 meetings is required prior to being considered for an interview. Attending all BOD meetings between now and March is strongly encouraged. 

If you’re considering applying for the PLT, we strongly recommend attending some BOD meetings, too, so you can get a sense of how the BOD and PLT work together. 

Beyond that, feel free to reach out to current BOD members if you have questions, concerns, or just want to chat. We’re all willing (individual schedules permitting) to talk with you about our personal experience serving on the BOD, if you want a 1:1 conversation in-person or by phone. You can reach out to any of us individually and all of us via BOD@SDCAP.org

Apply! 

SDCAP 2020 Director Job Posting

YOUtopia 2020 Production Leadership Team Job Posting