[Osmf-talk] should OSMF AGM include time for discussion debate?

Holger Schöner numenor at ancalime.de
Tue Sep 13 12:08:23 UTC 2011


I do not have a strong opinion in favor or against hiring staff for the
OSMF. But I have a little example experience, and Serge has asked, so I
thought I would share my experience:

I am member of a German nationwide alumni association with currently
somewhat more than 1000 members altogether, which usually (except for
students, etc.) pay €40 a year membership fee. A large part of these is
used to support stipends for the program the association is related to.

The association has a part time (one day a week) assistant in a rented
office room. This has greatly helped the board to concentrate on issues and
decisions, because the assistant cares for managing the money (invoicing,
reminders), the members database (new members, changes, etc.), and can do
routine communication.

Our experience is, that hired staff (as long as it is a single person)
does not necessarily help regarding continuity: The hired person is a
student, and on average every two years needs to be replaced by another
student (because the study is finished, etc.). After a few times, that
volunteers living close to the office had to introduce new staff into the
work, it was finally decided, that an organizational manual was necessary,
which now covers the everyday routine jobs to be done by the assistant.
Besides this, we have another manual covering similar todos for board
members as well (of course, mostly suggestions and best practices about
their responsibilities and routine tasks), as these can potentially be
exchanged completely at a general assembly.

So, regardless of whether staff is paid or not, continuity needs
appropriate organization.

Where in our experience hired staff can help is with tasks, which
volunteers do not like to do very much (ie. for long amounts of time), and
where their enthusiasm could be put to work on more productive areas.

Holger Schöner - numenor at ancalime.de

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