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Planning and Organizing (Phase I)

Now that you have determined your organization is ready to start a YAB, it is time to choose a leader. The leader will have the time and dedication to take the YAB from start to finish. They will create a mission statement, recruit members, and facilitate meetings. Throughout this section of the toolkit, we will discuss planning and organizing a successful and sustainable YAB that serves your organization and community.

Getting top-down support:

Group of diverse people sitting around a table

“Leaders and staff within your organization must believe in the mission of the advisory board and hold staff accountable to help create youth-infused services.  Providing trainings to staff at all levels of an organization can help everyone better understand what the purpose of the board is, as well as the benefits it can provide to the organization and individual providers." - Tips and Tricks to Starting a Young Adult Board Part 1

Tips and Tricks to Starting a Young Adult Board Part 2

Mission Statement

Your mission statement is an internal document that explains what your YAB will do for your organization. Your mission statement should:

  • Reflect your organization’s needsblue circle target with blue arrow in the bullseye
  • Share the benefits of the YAB
  • Clearly describe your organization’s values
  • Concisely summarize the purpose of an advisory board

A good mission statement will:

  • Help get buy-in from organizational leadership and young adults
  • Be reviewed, revised, and approved by the YAB

Your YAB mission statement should be no longer than 1-2 sentences. Your organization should develop accompanying goals that spell out the mission in more detail. Your goals should also be edited to incorporate advisory member feedback. Your board’s goals might be revisited every six months to a year, or as needed. It may also be helpful to share your mission statement when interviewing potential new board members to ensure that they align with your goals and values.

For Example:

Our YAB’s Mission Statement:

Provide our organization with input from young adults living with mental health conditions to improve the research, policies, and services designed to meet their needs.

Our YAB’s Goals:

  • Gather insight and feedback from the community on our work to improve the lives of young people with lived mental health experience.
  • Infuse the voice of young people with lived experience of a mental health condition into research projects and knowledge translation activities.
  • Serve as a bridge between young people most affected by mental health policies and people with the institutional power to make changes.
  • Discuss topics of interest to young adults living with mental health conditions.

Your board’s motivation will be different depending on what type of members you have and who you are aiming to serve. For example, your board members may work towards the goals of becoming advocates, developing resources, or running meetings on their own.

Identify Your Champion

Identify a well-respected member of your organization who can lead this project. Your “champion” should:

  • Have time, energy, dedication, and passion to create a YABblue hands holding a blue star
  • Have strong communication, networking, and people skills
  • Be good at pitching ideas and project management
  • Advocate for youth connection, voice, and leadership
  • Have the authority to advocate for the board’s funding (could be through a grant proposal)
  • Be able to oversee moving parts and ensure that top-down support is available when needed

If your champion has their own lived mental health experience and is willing to disclose this to members that is very helpful in developing trust with the board.

Resource Allocation and Budget

A YAB requires time, commitment, and a budget. Start by asking yourself:

  • Who at your organization will be involved with the YAB?sprocket with dollar sign in the middle and 3 boxes to the right showing breakdown
    • What will their responsibilities be?
    • How much time will they need to dedicate to the YAB?

For Example:

YAB facilitators are full-time employees at UMass Chan Medical School who dedicate 5-10 hours a week to advisory board tasks. These tasks include planning and facilitating meetings, working on YAB materials, helping process member payments, working with presenters, and communicating with YAB members.

  • How often should my YAB meet and how long?
    • It is important to know how often you would want your YAB to meet (e.g., monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, etc.)
    • How long is each meeting?
    • Meeting frequency and length of meeting will impact your budget

For Example:

Our YAB meets monthly for 2 hours. This length allows us to have two speakers at each meeting.

  • How much will your organization compensate YAB members?
    • When determining a reasonable hourly rate your agency should consider:
      • The number of members you can sustain
      • The expertise of YAB members
      • The frequency/length of meetings
      • The work you would like members to complete
      • Meeting location (virtual or in-person)
      • Reimbursing travel/providing travel vouchers
      • Providing snacks & drinks
    • YAB hourly compensation should be above a typical hourly rate.

For Example:

In 2022 our board members were compensated $30.00 per hour for participation in the YAB. Two hour YAB meetings are held virtually every month.

  • What other things should your organization think about regarding compensation?
    • Selecting the form of compensation that works best for your organization and your YAB members, such as:
      • Gift cards
      • Stipends
      • Payment as a contractor
    • Discussing the potential impact of YAB compensation on other benefits:
      • Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and other benefits have income limits
      • YAB member or co-leader compensation may exceed income limits in combination with other income
      • Discuss this privately with individual YAB members

Download our Budget Template