[Wikimedia-l] The one-employee secretariat model

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[Wikimedia-l] The one-employee secretariat model

Asaf Bartov-2
On Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 4:21 PM, MZMcBride <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Florence Devouard wrote:
> >I was thinking of the numerous (quite successful) associations in
> >France, which are simply made of entrepreneurs wishing to do things
> >together (from networking, to training, to visits, conferences etc.).
> >Most of those associations have only one staff member, a long-term hired
> >secretary who takes care of secretarial work. The rest of the
> >association activity is 100% taken care of by the volunteer
> >entrepreneurs (usually through an extended board of volunteer members).
>
> Yes, this kind of association is also somewhat common in the United States
> as well. I agree that it might serve as a very good model for a healthy
> number of Wikimedia chapters.
>

Yes, this model clearly works in some countries and for some non-profits.
 It has also been working for some Wikimedia groups, e.g. WMPL.

However, it is not obvious that this model is what all (or even most)
groups are looking for (judging by grant applications and informal
conversations I have had with many groups).  I would be willing to consider
funding such a position on a part-time basis (say 3 days a week) if a group
presented a compelling case for the need for such a person.

>In many cases, the secretary is paid with sponsorship and membership
> >fees.
>
> The Wikimedia Foundation seems to be in a good place to ensure that this
> need is met for chapters in need of a full-time staff person. A little
> seed money. What needs to happen in order to ensure requests like this are
> met if membership fees and sponsorships aren't sufficient?
>

The Foundation is indeed in a good place to fill this need, where it
exists.  I think very few groups have been able to demonstrate the need for
_sustained_ support of this kind (i.e. not the two afternoons needed to
finish some particular report, but actual ongoing labor of the order that
would require such a position).  Again, I am happy to discuss this with any
group, on any channel, including privately if they prefer (I prefer public
conversations).

For example, in the context of the recent FDC proposals, WMCZ's staffing
plan[1], assuming that "student" could be a *part-time* employee, could
certainly have gone through the Wikimedia Grants Program (NB: not "the GAC"
-- the GAC is the advisory body to the Wikimedia Grants Program), as in
WMCZ's case, I am aware of a relatively large amount of administrative work
around reimbursements, related to their two current grants.

A case will still need to be made for such positions, each and every time
-- we can't, and shouldn't, assume that this model is a panacea, so
"requests like this" will be met wherever they make sense, in terms of both
need and capacity (unfortunately, retaining paid help has a non-trivial
up-front cost in time and planning, and the capacity to put in that time,
responsibly, needs to be there for us to approve such a position).

    Asaf

[1]
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/FDC_portal/Proposals/2012-2013_round2/Wikimedia_Czech_Republic/Proposal_form

--
    Asaf Bartov
    Wikimedia Foundation <http://www.wikimediafoundation.org>

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The one-employee secretariat model

Florence Devouard-3
Le 5/1/13 2:50 AM, Asaf Bartov a écrit :

> On Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 4:21 PM, MZMcBride <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Florence Devouard wrote:
>>> I was thinking of the numerous (quite successful) associations in
>>> France, which are simply made of entrepreneurs wishing to do things
>>> together (from networking, to training, to visits, conferences etc.).
>>> Most of those associations have only one staff member, a long-term hired
>>> secretary who takes care of secretarial work. The rest of the
>>> association activity is 100% taken care of by the volunteer
>>> entrepreneurs (usually through an extended board of volunteer members).
>>
>> Yes, this kind of association is also somewhat common in the United States
>> as well. I agree that it might serve as a very good model for a healthy
>> number of Wikimedia chapters.
>>
>
> Yes, this model clearly works in some countries and for some non-profits.
>   It has also been working for some Wikimedia groups, e.g. WMPL.
>
> However, it is not obvious that this model is what all (or even most)
> groups are looking for (judging by grant applications and informal
> conversations I have had with many groups).  I would be willing to consider
> funding such a position on a part-time basis (say 3 days a week) if a group
> presented a compelling case for the need for such a person.
>
>> In many cases, the secretary is paid with sponsorship and membership
>>> fees.
>>
>> The Wikimedia Foundation seems to be in a good place to ensure that this
>> need is met for chapters in need of a full-time staff person. A little
>> seed money. What needs to happen in order to ensure requests like this are
>> met if membership fees and sponsorships aren't sufficient?
>>
>
> The Foundation is indeed in a good place to fill this need, where it
> exists.  I think very few groups have been able to demonstrate the need for
> _sustained_ support of this kind (i.e. not the two afternoons needed to
> finish some particular report, but actual ongoing labor of the order that
> would require such a position).  Again, I am happy to discuss this with any
> group, on any channel, including privately if they prefer (I prefer public
> conversations).
>
> For example, in the context of the recent FDC proposals, WMCZ's staffing
> plan[1], assuming that "student" could be a *part-time* employee, could
> certainly have gone through the Wikimedia Grants Program (NB: not "the GAC"
> -- the GAC is the advisory body to the Wikimedia Grants Program), as in
> WMCZ's case, I am aware of a relatively large amount of administrative work
> around reimbursements, related to their two current grants.
>
> A case will still need to be made for such positions, each and every time
> -- we can't, and shouldn't, assume that this model is a panacea, so
> "requests like this" will be met wherever they make sense, in terms of both
> need and capacity (unfortunately, retaining paid help has a non-trivial
> up-front cost in time and planning, and the capacity to put in that time,
> responsibly, needs to be there for us to approve such a position).
>
>      Asaf
>
> [1]
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/FDC_portal/Proposals/2012-2013_round2/Wikimedia_Czech_Republic/Proposal_form
>


True. Not all associations are looking for such support and indeed, the
association needs to show a decent amount of activity to make it worth it.

Note that in many cases, the secretary hired for such positions is NOT a
student, but rather an experienced person willing and able to do
multitasking stuff in an autonomous manner and rather looking for a
long-term position. This balances the fact the volunteers come and go
and that the board term is often for a limited time (2 or 3 terms
maximum). This secretary provides an unvaluable element of stability.
And indeed, for entreprenarial associations, it is frequent that a
secretary is actually shared by two organizations.


Florence



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The one-employee secretariat model

Tomasz Ganicz
2013/5/1 Florence Devouard <[hidden email]>:

>
> True. Not all associations are looking for such support and indeed, the
> association needs to show a decent amount of activity to make it worth it.
>
> Note that in many cases, the secretary hired for such positions is NOT a
> student, but rather an experienced person willing and able to do
> multitasking stuff in an autonomous manner and rather looking for a
> long-term position. This balances the fact the volunteers come and go and
> that the board term is often for a limited time (2 or 3 terms maximum). This
> secretary provides an unvaluable element of stability.

In our case (Wikimedia Polska) we were very careful with hiring. The
idea appeared around 2009, but there was no money for both having an
office and paid secretary at that time and it was decided that it
hardly make sense to have empty office or paid secretary working at
home. Next year we had enough money for both. Before hiring we had
made of list of duties and a list of skills needed for doing this
duties. Our first secretary was hired only for a year contract and for
part time (3 days a week  4 hours of work in the office + some duties
outside the office). Our first secretary was mainly working as a
attorney's assistant and work for us was just her extra job. She left
us after a year, as demanded by her attorney boss. Then we hired the
next person - with some modified list of duties and skills needed -
for 4  days of week, still 4 hours of work in an office). Finally -
just in the middle of last year we decided to employ the secretary for
full time. It was decided due to gradual increase of our activity
which need more paper work.



--
Tomek "Polimerek" Ganicz
http://pl.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Polimerek
http://www.ganicz.pl/poli/
http://www.cbmm.lodz.pl/work.php?id=29&title=tomasz-ganicz

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The one-employee secretariat model

Balázs Viczián
I've discussed this issue in my state of the movement presentation [1]
summing up our experiences so far.

Balazs

[1] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:State_of_WMHU.pdf


2013.05.02. 0:36, "Tomasz Ganicz" <[hidden email]> ezt írta:
>
> 2013/5/1 Florence Devouard <[hidden email]>:
>
> >
> > True. Not all associations are looking for such support and indeed, the
> > association needs to show a decent amount of activity to make it worth
it.
> >
> > Note that in many cases, the secretary hired for such positions is NOT a
> > student, but rather an experienced person willing and able to do
> > multitasking stuff in an autonomous manner and rather looking for a
> > long-term position. This balances the fact the volunteers come and go
and
> > that the board term is often for a limited time (2 or 3 terms maximum).
This

> > secretary provides an unvaluable element of stability.
>
> In our case (Wikimedia Polska) we were very careful with hiring. The
> idea appeared around 2009, but there was no money for both having an
> office and paid secretary at that time and it was decided that it
> hardly make sense to have empty office or paid secretary working at
> home. Next year we had enough money for both. Before hiring we had
> made of list of duties and a list of skills needed for doing this
> duties. Our first secretary was hired only for a year contract and for
> part time (3 days a week  4 hours of work in the office + some duties
> outside the office). Our first secretary was mainly working as a
> attorney's assistant and work for us was just her extra job. She left
> us after a year, as demanded by her attorney boss. Then we hired the
> next person - with some modified list of duties and skills needed -
> for 4  days of week, still 4 hours of work in an office). Finally -
> just in the middle of last year we decided to employ the secretary for
> full time. It was decided due to gradual increase of our activity
> which need more paper work.
>
>
>
> --
> Tomek "Polimerek" Ganicz
> http://pl.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Polimerek
> http://www.ganicz.pl/poli/
> http://www.cbmm.lodz.pl/work.php?id=29&title=tomasz-ganicz
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
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