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titleDraft march 2021

This page is meant to facilitate the transition of duties to the next secretary. I served as secretary (May 2017- May 2019, May 2020 - May 2021) and vice chair (partial term: May 2019 - May 2020). In this summary, I outline not only requirements of the role, but also some established practices that the next secretary is free to modify or discard.


Table of Contents


  1. Review the Advice for New Leaders.

  2. Notify the international secretary of the newly elected leadership board within 15 days of election. Also send the AGM minutes. (See Compliance Requirements)

  3. Complete and submit the Confidentiality Agreement.

  4. Complete the NationBuilder Trainings for website content, email, and database.

  5. Ask the new DACN Chair to complete the New Admin Access Request Form for you.


Fantastic Help Desk People. If you have any questions about almost anything contained herein (not WeChat or MikeCRM), contact the fantastic people at the helpdesk:

I. Background

In May 2017, I was elected to the first Leadership Board of Democrats Abroad China (DACN) as secretary, along with Aaron Kruse as chair and Samantha Wong as vice chair. We did not know each other much at all, and only Sam had been previously involved in DA. We were ushered in as the first leadership board by Ada Shen and Rich Welch, two volunteers who were active in DA while living in China before 2017. They led the effort to establish our official Country Committee (CC) in China recognized by the Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA). They were responsible for carefully drafting the bylaws and organizing the election of the first leadership board for DACN.

Farewell party for Ada and Rich, July 2017. From left - Aaron Kruse (DACN Chair), Ada Shen, Sam Wong (DACN Vice Chair), and Rich Welch.

Farewell party for Ada and Rich, July 2017. From left - Aaron Kruse (DACN Chair), Ada Shen, Sam Wong (DACN Vice Chair), and Rich Welch.

Ada and Rich explained to me that one of their intentions in writing the bylaws was to separate the roles of secretary and communications. They wanted to allow the work to be shared and avoid placing too much of a burden on a single person. Even so, the secretary has substantial responsibilities including maintaining the membership list, meeting minutes, and administrative records for DACN.

II. Meeting Minutes

Minutes of any regular meeting, with the roll of those in attendance, shall be distributed by the Secretary at least one week prior to the next meeting and may be sent out by the Chair electronically.

Democrats Abroad China Bylaws, Article XIX, Section 6 (Revised 2019)

Our only regular meetings are the monthly leadership board meeting and the annual general meeting (AGM). Monthly meetings take place on Sunday evenings at 8:00 or 8:30 pm via Zoom. I try to email the minutes immediately following the meeting, also posting them to the wiki. The bylaws require the minutes to be shared at least one week prior to the next meeting. At the top of every meeting we vote to approve or amend the minutes as shared.


It is not necessary for the secretary to be the notetaker at every meeting, but they must ensure someone takes notes and then distribute the minutes to the leadership board.

III. Wiki

The secretary shall […] maintain minutes of all meetings and all files and administrative records of the organization, making them reasonably available for membership review.

Democrats Abroad China Bylaws, Article VIII (Revised 2019)

In the spirit of openness, our bylaws as well as the DPCA bylaws require all meetings to be open to all members. We also work to give our members notice of meetings via email, WeChat, and online. I set up a dedicated section for Democrats Abroad China on the wiki where I post meeting announcements, meeting minutes, our bylaws, and other administrative documents. Not every CC uses the wiki this way, and it is not a requirement, but it does fulfil our obligation to make the records available to our members.


The secretary may upload meeting minutes, bylaws and other records to the wiki.

  • The wiki also includes an updated leadership list and meeting announcements.

  • In accordance with the Confidentiality Agreement (CA), member data cannot be shared here.

  • For access to edit the wiki, contact the Wiki Admin, Merrill Oates DA Wiki Admin/Own

IV. Member Verification: New Members

The Secretary shall maintain a current list of verified members of the organization […].

Democrats Abroad China Bylaws, Article VIII (Revised 2019)

One important ongoing duty of the secretary is to verify new members. New members join Democrats Abroad through the signup form on the website and then their information is automatically fed into the membership database. As the database administrator for China, the secretary receives an email notification each time a new member joins. Most of the time the number of new members is no more than 12 per week, while closer to an election the number may be more than 20 per day.


NationBuilder Database. The secretary must log in and verify each new member.

  • New members will not receive any communications (email, calls, etc.) until they are verified.

  • While not required, use the option to send a welcome email (sample below) when verifying the member. Include an invitation to join us on WeChat in this message.

  • Remember to use the shared country login (username:

Welcome Email

Subject: Welcome! Join us on WeChat!

Hi Jennifer,

Thanks for joining Democrats Abroad China! We will send you emails to keep you updated about upcoming events and actions. We also have a few WeChat groups to help stay connected. Join us by adding WeChat ID: DemocratsAbroad

We have monthly leadership meetings (on Zoom) and our Annual General Meeting this year will be May 23. This AGM is special because we will be electing new leadership board members. There are 11 positions and we hope to fill them with a diversity of members, representing different identities and also different geographies within China. If you are curious about running, feel free to message me directly by replying to this email. You can also check out the materials on our wiki:

Look forward to hearing from you!

Elizabeth Jenkins
Secretary - China
Democrats Abroad

Some members in China, have trouble accessing the website, and a signup form can be created on MikeCRM. While this signup form can be shared and completed on WeChat, the information must be transferred to NationBuilder. Once recorded and verified in NationBuilder, the data should be deleted from MikeCRM.


If the secretary uses MikeCRM, all info must be manually typed into the signup form on the website.

  • We have a free account at (both Chinese and English interface).

  • They have a mini app for WeChat so you can set up forms to send you notifications of new signups (only in Chinese).

V. Member Verification: Expiring Members

The current list of members as maintained by the Secretary per Article VIII shall be delivered annually to the appropriate officers of the DPCA pursuant to procedures adopted by the DPCA.

Democrats Abroad China Bylaws, Article III, Section 4 (Revised 2019)

The total number of verified members determines our vote share in DPCA. A membership lapses (expires) if there are no updates to the person’s record in the database for three years. Every year, there is a review of expiring memberships and we make an effort to verify if they are still in China. The official number of verified members is calculated annually and the secretary is required to confirm the membership count with the international secretary.

VI. Compliance Requirements

Each year, we must complete compliance requirements:

  1. Confirm the membership count provided to us by the international secretary.

  2. Schedule the AGM before June 30.

  3. Email the international secretary <>and copy the Asia Pacific regional vice chair <> with the AGM meeting minutes. This must be done within 15 days of the meeting.

  4. In odd numbered years, also email the international secretary and regional vice chair a list of the newly elected leadership board members (name, role, and email) and the current bylaws, noting the last date they were modified.

VII. Changes in Leadership, Caucuses and Committees

The secretary should be able to produce a list of all leaders, including leadership board members as major roles of other volunteers. In addition, the secretary should know the active caucuses, as well as the existing ad hoc and standing committees. The bylaws allow caucuses to self-organize – choosing their own leadership and creating their own bylaws (subject to the approval of the Leadership Board).

Changes to the leadership board need to be reported to the international secretary and the Asia Pacific regional vice chair, including the new person’s name, role, and email address.

Changes to the leadership board also require database updates. Leadership board members should be tagged “cn_Leader” in the database. They should also have their priority setting adjusted. This determines the order in which they appear in the list of leaders on the website. Unfortunately with 11 leadership board members, the tool does not give us 11 priority settings. The highest setting (5) should be for the chair and the lowest setting (1) should be for at-large members. But where multiple members have the same priority setting, the order on the website will sometimes make one or the other appear first.

VIII. Email and Website

NationBuilder is not only the database, but also the tool for sending members email blasts and publishing to the website. This is the Communications Director’s primary domain, but the secretary should complete the training and ensure they have the ability to email members and publish to the website, including events. Typically the task of sending emails to members is assigned to a single person (login:, and publishing events and news items to the website can be shared among several team members, including non-leadership board members.


NationBuilder Website. Log in with your personal username to add events and news.

The secretary is the primary database administrator, so may need to coordinate with the person sending out emails if the message targets a specific portion of the member. In addition to creating lists for email, there may be occasion to create contact lists for GOTV calls or text messaging. This should be done by the secretary.


NationBuilder Email. Log in with the shared account (

Checklist for New Secretary:

 Email the International Secretary <>and copy the Asia Pacific Regional Vice Chair <rvc-ap@democratsabroad


> with the meeting minutes from the AGM where you were elected and a list of the newly elected leadership board members (name, role, and email


. This must be done within 15 days of the meeting. Complete and submit the Confidentiality Agreement



  • Mobilize - internal comms for DPCA leaders

  • Wiki - internal comms for DACN members

  • Nationbuilder - member list, indicate leaders, send emails to members, manage RSVPs for events (use shared DACN login)

  • Website - publish events and news (also part of Nationbuilder but use personal login)

  • MikeCRM - China-friendly signup forms