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NFDA Governance & Structure

About NFDA's Current Governing Structure

2015 NFDA Election Information/Candidate Bios

NFDA Vision for the Future Governance Redesign
Revised August 19, 2015


The landscape of funeral service continues to evolve and NFDA’s governance structure has remained unchanged since 1991. To ensure NFDA is able to uphold a standard of excellence in service to members, an examination of NFDA’s long-standing governance structure was undertaken. The goal was to determine if the current structure effectively and efficiently supports the association’s mission and vision for the future of funeral service. 

In April 2015, a dynamic and diverse group of national and state association thought leaders (State Association Leaders, State Executive Directors, Executive Board members, Policy Board members, Educators, NFDA Committee members, NFDA Meet the Mentors former participants, NFDA Past Presidents, Past Executive Board members, Past Policy Board members, and NFDA staff) met to launch an exciting effort to modernize NFDA’s governance. They brainstormed a variety of models from which an initial proposal was created, stipulating that NFDA’s system of governance must ultimately be:

  • Representative of membership
  • Transparent
  • Strategic
  • Inclusive
  • Nimble/flexible
  • Adaptable

Download the NFDA Vision for the Future Report to learn more about the brainstorming session.

Based on that group’s expertise and insight, the NFDA Executive Board developed and presented an initial governance proposal. The Board then requested feedback from members of NFDA’s Policy Board, Leadership Conference attendees and NFDA membership. After careful consideration of all feedback received, the Board revised the proposal.

Please review the most current proposal (as of 8/19/15) for full details and access to a short feedback form.

Proposal Summary:

Shift from House of Delegates to NFDA Membership

Proposal Elements

  • Membership assumes responsibilities for changes to the NFDA bylaws and election of officers only to the Board of Directors.
  • Each NFDA member firm (main location) receives two votes and each individual member receives one vote, ensuring that all NFDA members have a voice in governance and also acknowledging that NFDA is a firm-based association. 

Key Benefits

  • Empowers all NFDA firm and individual members to have a voice in their association.
  • Institutes a democratic process through voting by members.
  • Provides NFDA with a transparent, inclusive, nimble governance structure.
  • Gives membership decision-making authority.

Shift from Executive Board to Board of Directors

Proposal Elements

  • Assumes responsibility for:
    • Approving legislative/regulatory agenda.
    • Granting and approving state association charters.
    • Approving mission statement.

Key Benefits

  • Ensures NFDA Board of Directors is strategic, nimble/flexible and adaptable, and is an effective decision making body.

Policy Board

Proposal Elements

  • No change in the name of the Policy Board.
  • No change in the Policy Board’s responsibility to elect four At-large Representatives to the NFDA Board of Directors. 
  • No change in when and how the Policy Board elects At-large Representatives to the NFDA Board of Directors. 
  • No change in term of service requirements for Policy Board members. 
  • Effective January 1, 2017, Policy Board members must be NFDA individual members serving as voting or non-voting members of their state associations’ boards of directors throughout their term of service on the Policy Board. NFDA will provide legal assistance to states that require constitution or bylaws changes to implement this new requirement.
  • At least two meetings per year. Does not limit the number of Policy Board meetings to be scheduled each year.
  • Has authority to propose amendments to the NFDA bylaws (shared responsibility with Board of Directors and Membership).
  • Identifies, deliberates and recommends action on funeral service issues, both nationally and on a state level.

Key Benefits

  • Maintains positive and effective national-state working relationship.
  • Ensures association is proactively addressing issues of critical importance to the profession.
  • Creates a direct link between national association and state association boards of directors.

Addition of Leadership Development Committee

Proposal Elements

  • Recruits, vets and recommends qualified candidates for elected positions on the Board of Directors.
  • Comprised of NFDA's outgoing Immediate Past President as Chair; two Past Policy Board members; two Past Board of Directors members; two NFDA Past Presidents.
  • Appointed by Board of Directors; Chair serves one-year term; members serve two-year staggered terms.
  • Accountable to Board of Directors, Policy Board and Membership for the quality of candidates running for elected positions on the Board of Directors.
  • Petition process enables any NFDA individual member to run for office if not identified by Leadership Development Committee.

Key Benefits

  • Ensures candidates have the skills, knowledge and abilities necessary to serve as leaders of NFDA, based on established criteria.

About NFDA's Current Governing Structure

NFDA has a governing structure that includes a nine-member elected Executive Board, a Policy Board made up of representatives from every state, and a House of Delegates. NFDA’s Constitution and NFDA's Bylaws are the official documents outlining NFDA’s governing structure. The number of delegates is based on the number of members in a state. NFDA strongly encourages its members to participate in these volunteer positions, as well as join one of NFDA’s committees, which focus on NFDA operations, educational opportunities, communications, government relations, and special tasks forces. NFDA also develops funeral service leaders through effective partnerships with allied and state-level funeral associations.

Staffed by 49 employees, NFDA is headquartered in Brookfield, Wisconsin, and has a government relations office in Washington, D.C., which proactively works to ensure that the nation’s lawmakers understand the issues affecting funeral directors and the families they serve. NFDA is classified as a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. 

For NFDA Members:

2015 NFDA election information and candidate biographies.