Frequently Asked Questions
Thank you for your interest in the Young Adult Friends Leadership Institute (YAFLI). We have answered some frequently asked questions below, but if there are any additional questions, please contact us here.
- Why the focus on YAF involvement in governance?
Many Quaker organizations are expressing concern about the lack of young adult participation in the life of their organizations, and wondering where their future leadership will come from. Similarly, Young Adult Friends are expressing the desire to learn more about Quaker process, and find meaningful roles in which to share their gifts and energy among Friends. The focus on governance bodies of Quaker institutions allows the YAFLI to help create a supportive container to meet both of these needs.
- What are organizations committing to when they become partners with YAFLI?
Partner organizations are committing to seeking one or more Young Adult Friends to serve on their governance body, with help from the YAF Leadership Institute. However, YAFLI is not guaranteeing that a match will be able to be made, and understands that a successful match can only be made after mutual discernment by the organization and the identified young adult Friend(s) to ensure that they are ready to take on the full responsibilities of a board member.
- What difference would it make to become a partner organization with YAFLI rather than just receive possible YAF nominations from YAFLI?
By joining the growing coalition of the YAFLI-partner organizations, your organization will be contributing to a culture seeking to welcome Young Adult Friend participation. Your organization will be making a statement valuing YAF participation by becoming a partner organization, regardless of if/when a match is made for a YAF to join your board through this program, which could take some time.
- If my organization agrees to partner with YAFLI, does it mean that I have to change our board structure immediately? By agreeing to partner with the YAF Leadership Institute, your organization commits to working towards the goal of having Young Adult Friends serving on your board. For many boards, this will not be immediately possible, as the timing of nomination processes vary. However, we do expect that you will work to add at least one Young Adult Friend to your board when the first opportunity arises.
- If YAFLI suggests a young adult for our board, does that young adult still go through our regular nominating committee process of discernment?
Yes. The YAF Leadership Institute does not seek to bypass or circumvent regular nominations cycles or processes. If an organization is struggling to find a young adult for your board, the YAFLI is ready to assist your organization in maintaining its commitment to YAF leadership by suggesting possible young adults for board service. We expect that any young adult leader will go through the same discernment and nominations process as other board members. If your nominating committee does not feel our match is appropriate, YAFLI will work with your organization to find a better fit.
- How will YAFLI ensure that any potential young adult candidates are appropriate matches for our organization?
YAFLI is committed to understanding the needs and goals of each partner organization, as well as each of our YAF participants. We will take many factors into account in pairing a YAF participant with a partner organization, including but not limited to: organizational mission and YAF participant vocational interests or experiential background, board composition and needed skills, and YAF availability to attend all board meetings. Once a match is suggested by YAFLI, we assume that this suggestion will proceed through your organization's regular nominations process (see above). If for any reason your nominating committee is not satisfied with the suggested match, YAFLI will work to find an alternate nomination until an appropriate and successful pairing is made.
- Normally our board members are selected from a pool of individuals who have served many years on various committees related to our organization. Would our partnership with YAFLI preclude the continuation of that traditional approach?
Partnership with YAFLI does not preclude this approach, though in partnering we expect that your board will prioritize YAF service on your board over the traditional manner of selecting board members. If there are currently no YAFs on your board, and none serving on committees, we would encourage you to find (or we would help you find) well-suited young adults that would begin board service without serving on a committee first. The YAFLI programming is intended to help our YAF participants build the necessary governance skills that will ensure their ability to be active contributing members to your board. We would also encourage your organization to mentor your young adult board members as a way to promote deeper understanding and familiarity with the organization. Ultimately, we understand the importance of committee work and are supportive of your organization continuing the tradition of committee work leading to board service. As we move forward in partnership, YAFLI would encourage your organization to seek more YAF participation on the committee level so that those YAFs can move into board service in the future.